Motorists are getting Pumped Up: Gas prices continue to plunge downward |

Motorists are getting Pumped Up: Gas prices continue to plunge downward

Gas prices in Nevada and other portions of California have taken a dramatic plunge, and prices for regular unleaded fuel at pumps in Truckee have dropped by more than 10 cents in the past week.

Gas in nearby cities dropped to below $1 per gallon, while prices in Truckee remained around 20 percent higher.

The lowest price in town for regular unleaded was about $1.19 per gallon Wednesday, compared with 99 cents per gallon in Verdi, about 20 miles away. Prices in Carson City and Reno also dropped as low as 99 cents for regular unleaded. Some stations in Truckee, notably those at major intersections, had gas prices approaching $1.33 per gallon for unleaded fuel.

Higher prices in Truckee

Why are prices higher in Truckee? Some of the same tankers supplying stations in Nevada pass through Truckee on their way to Verdi and Reno, where gas prices have fallen to record lows.

The answer: Gas station owners face the same increased costs of operation as other business owners in Truckee.

“There’s extra heating and extra snow removal,” said owner Oliver Croce of Pat ‘n Ollie’s Sierra Superstops. “It’s pretty expensive to operate in this area.” Croce said wintertime maintenance costs raise the overhead, along with additional transportation fees, and that his stations operate with a lower profit margin during the winter months in an effort to keep costs down.

Currently, state, federal and local taxes account for about 50 cents of the price of each gallon of gas sold in California.

“I used to sell gas for 36.9 cents per gallon back in 1965, including all the road taxes,” Croce said. “Times have changed.”

Prices Wednesday at gas stations in Truckee were as follows: Pat ‘n Ollie’s Sierra Superstops – $1.19 regular unleaded

and $1.39 premium or $1.25 regular unleaded and $1.35 premium; Shell station on Donner Pass Road – $1.33 regular unleaded, $1.55 mid grade and $1.65 premium; 76 at Donner Gate – $1.29 regular unleaded, $1.49 mid grade and $1.59 for premium; Donner Gate Chevron – $1.29 regular, $1.49 mid grade and $1.59 premium; Shell station on Highway 89 South – $1.33 regular unleaded, $1.59 mid grade and $1.63 premium; Cal Neva – $1.24 regular unleaded and $1.34 premium; 76 downtown – $1.35 regular unleaded, $1.55 mid grade and $1.65 premium.

“The prices are coming down,” Truckee resident Arnie Piceno said while filling up his Bronco II at Sierra Superstop. “Two weeks ago they were very high.” He said it costs about $25 to fill up his vehicle now.

“The prices look better than they have,” Mike Rose of Truckee said. “They are still more expensive than Reno or Auburn.”

Peter Krueger of the Nevada Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association in Reno said gas prices should increase again as the summer driving season nears. He said prices typically decrease in the winter, but not as dramatically as they have recently.

While many factors go into the current low prices, Krueger said, the biggest reason is simple.

“Fuel is a commodity. It’s driven by supply and demand,” Krueger said. “Right now there’s a lot of supply, and demand has not caught up with it.”

Prices have fallen throughout the United States, Krueger said, but not proportionally with Nevada. States in the southeastern part of the country typically have the lowest prices in the nation, and while prices have decreased in those states, the amount of change is not as drastic as Nevada’s.

Andy Bourelle of the Sun News Service also contributed to this story.

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