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Gas Prices Dropping, Partially Due To Government Shutdown

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Gigi Barnett anchors the Weekend Morning Edition with Meteorologist...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Side effects of the government shutdown: gas prices are dropping. It’s an unintended consequence that has drivers smiling.

As Gigi Barnett explains, several factors are causing the decrease.

It’s been almost a week since the government shut down for business, but it’s more than a month of a dip in gas prices. Experts say the longer the government stays closed, the lower gas prices may drop.

“On the eve of the government shutdown, we saw that oil prices were trading a little bit lower,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Averella says multiple factors are coming into play at the pump.

But the one her agency is seeing more in this past week is supply and demand, especially from furloughed federal workers.

“There are less motorists on the roads, particularly in the Washington and Maryland areas. So that possibly could be having an impact, as well,” Averella said.

Add in the end of the summer driving season and gas stations switching over to cheaper winter blends, and it’s the drivers who are saving big.

“Oh, absolutely. I happen to work out in Bowie and that’s a little bit of a distance from here, so yeah, I have to watch my gas prices,” said Lee Griffith.

“I said, `$3.23? It ain’t going to stick around forever so I better get it now,’” said Brian Mulcahy.

AAA believes drivers will continue to see lower prices well into the end of the year,  but it’s keeping an eye on Tropical Depression Karen in the Gulf Coast. Damage from the storm could cause the prices to creep back up.

Baltimore drivers are paying $3.29 a gallon for regular gas. That’s down 22 cents from a month ago when drivers were paying $3.51 a gallon.

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