Gasoline prices have gradually dropped in Santa Barbara and are expected to stabilize locally and throughout the nation even though the price of a barrel of crude oil has slightly ticked up, according to GasBuddy.com.
The average price of a gallon of unleaded gas is $4.212 in Santa Barbara, compared with the $3.836 national average, according to the site. Santa Barbara’s average price of gas is on par with the state average in California.
Although rising costs reduce the profit margin of transportation companies such as Santa Barbara Airbus, more people use the air bus to avoid driving.
“Prices may be driving some additional volume to us,” said Eric Onnen, the company’s CEO. “Anecdotally, many customers are telling us they are using the scheduled service to LAX because the cost of fuel doesn’t make any sense.
“Some people are to the point where they aren’t going to buy any more gas than they have to.”
Onnen said Santa Barbara Airbus saw a steady decline in business for the majority of the past two years, but things are looking up.
“All areas saw the initial decline in volume in 2008, but we’ve seen improvement in volume over last few months,” he said. “It wasn’t a predictable change. The trends for the past four months have been positive, and the two years prior we saw volume reducing.”
Although staff wages haven’t felt the impact, the owners certainly have, Onnen said.
“I don’t know how long it will last or how far it will go, so you can’t invest,” he said. “For the long term, we have to look to be conservative because we don’t know what’s going to happen next month.”
A barrel of crude oil rose to $111.17 this week from $107.67 a week ago.
The average price of a gallon of unleaded gas was $3.074 this time last year and $4.247 a week ago.
According to GasBuddy.com, residents in Santa Barbara can find the least expensive gas at Educated Car Wash, 3735 State St., at $3.99 a gallon. The next cheapest station is the Vons at Fairview Avenue at $4.13. The most expensive station is listed as the Mobil on Glen Annie Road, with gas priced at $4.59 a gallon.