For the first time in a long time around Greater Boston, it's out there if you look for it: Gas under $2 a gallon.
GasBuddy.com members reported pump prices of $1.99 or less – including an apparent state low of $1.97 a gallon at the Dedham Costco, for members only – as of Wednesday afternoon at 20 stations from Danvers to Seekonk, and we found plenty of delighted motorists at the Costco and at a Norwood Irving selling gas for $1.99 at the cash price.
Statewide, gas prices in Massachusetts have been sliding since June, and are now a full $1.10 cheaper than this time last September.
"The trend right now is down nationally -- we've been dropping for the last 35, 36 days," said AAA Northeast spokeswoman Mary Maguire, who expects this trend to continue. "Historically, what we see heading into the fall is that prices do drop, demand typically is down because people are nesting, they're back in their homes, they're back at work, kids are back at school and college."
Also helping: This is the time of year New England gas stations can stop selling the more-expensive summer blend of gasoline, which is designed to evaporate less and reduce smog, and switch over to cheaper winter formula gasoline.
"That also tends to put downward pressure on prices," Maguire said.
While there's an extra psychological boost from seeing a gas price that starts with a "1," the relief from the steady drop in prices that's led to it is relief consumers are really feeling.
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"I save $30 a week, so that certainly helps," said Peter MacDonald of Mansfield, filling up at the Norwood Irving. "I've got three kids," girls ages 15, 13, and 8, so having extra money to cover the five gallons of milk they drink each week is definitely easing the household budget, MacDonald said.
Lily Huynh of Boston, who also has three children she drives around constantly in her Toyota minivan, loved the $1.97 Costco price.
"We used to pay $400 for gas a month. Now, cut that in half," Huynh said. "It's perfect."
David Chen of Boston, also filling up at Costco, said he found the price "surprisingly good."
"Pennies add up," Chen said, "and I'm looking forward to saving up for a big purchase like a new car."
With videographer Marc Jackson