JANESVILLE

Darnell Eveland has noticed plummeting gas prices on her commute to Madison.

Eveland, who lives in Edgerton, said Wednesday she can fork over a little more for groceries and bills with the savings. But prices fluctuate between local municipalities, Eveland said, and she keeps an eye out for stations with lower prices.

“Last weekend, I went from Edgerton to Milton to go to Mass, and it was 10 cents more in Milton than it was in Edgerton. So there’s just a bigger flux,” Eveland said. “You really have to watch which gas stations you’re going to”

Gas prices nationally have fallen dramatically since early October. Per barrel crude oil costs have dropped from about $76 a barrel to $53 a barrel, a 30 percent decrease, since then, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, a website that tracks gas prices.

Drops in the per-barrel price have caused gasoline prices to go down, too, DeHaan said. Average prices in Wisconsin were about 60 cents higher two months ago, according to Gas Buddy. On Wednesday, the lowest price in Janesville was $2.29 per gallon, and some stations in Kenosha, Oak Creek and New Berlin were at $1.99 per gallon late Wednesday, according to Gas Buddy.

DeHaan said U.S. sanctions against Iran and concerns about economic growth spurred a global overproduction of crude oil. But in November, President Donald Trump granted waivers for Iranian oil, which makes more oil available globally.

“We went from the potential of a severe shortage to a significant surplus. ... Motorists are catching a major break right now,” said Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst with Gas Buddy.

But prices could rise again soon, analysts say. OPEC, the 15-nation body responsible for producing 33 million barrels of oil a day, will meet Thursday in Austria and “discuss possibly cutting production in an effort to boost oil prices,” DeHaan said.

“Prices could rise eventually in the weeks ahead as a result of tomorrow’s OPEC meeting,” he said.

Several motorists at Lions Quick Mart on Milton Avenue in Janesville said Wednesday they noticed the lower gas prices and hoped they would stay that way. Ed Sheehy said he was in Illinois on Friday and noticed prices there were lower than in Janesville.

“That never happens,” he said.

But Sheehy doesn’t want the prices to drop too much. He hopes the market stays steady to keep people working, he said.

As a commuter, Eveland typically spends between $100 to $150 a month on gas, she said, so the savings are hitting home.

“You end up using them (savings) other places because the grocery store is going up and everything else is going up, so if gas went up too, you don’t eat what you want to eat. You eat what you can afford.”

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