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Gas prices lowest in four years

BY ALYSSA GUZMAN | DECEMBER 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa freshman Addison Mittelstaedt said she feels as if the recent low gas prices is “like a Christmas present” for all Iowans.

Currently, gas prices are the lowest they have been in four years, which not only benefits residents of Iowa but also fleet vehicles around the UI campus.

The average price of gas was below $2.70 this past week.

“Individual departments may realize a savings, but specifically parking and transportation will not [notice the savings] except for the few vehicles we have ourselves,” said transportation Associate Director Jim Sayre.

Although some people may not yet be aware of the significant savings, those who take advantage of the rental pool provided by the Transportation Department will notice that rental fees have gone down.

“Due to the fuel prices being less, we’ve reduced our hourly rental fee,” Sayre said. “If a department leased a car for a week, they might see some reduced savings because the daily rate is a little bit less.”

Similarly, those who use Fleet Services vehicles, which is a division of UI Parking and Transportation, will also be experiencing positive effects because of the decrease in gas prices.

According to the website, all fleet vehicles are available for lease or rental by university departments for university business.

On Dec. 1, Fleet Services lowered its rental and mileage rates to account for the lower gas prices.

“We manage the majority of the vehicles on campus,” Fleet Services manager Mike Wilson said. “We charge them a monthly rate for their vehicle, but the rate does not include fuel. We just bill the fuel back to them.”

Since the customers are responsible for reimbursing Fleet Services according to the amount of fuel they’ve used, the low costs are going to directly affect those who take advantage of the university-provided service.

“Our customers are saving money,” Wilson said. “If the fuel prices go down, they save.”

Wilson said customers’ saving money is always a good thing.

With the cost of tuition and living on campus, UI students are also very pleased with the significant change in prices.

“It’s always nice when you can keep some extra cash in your pocket,” Colin Baker, a sophomore at the UI said. “Plus, around the holidays, that means more money spent on gifts, so it’s a win-win.”

Mittelstaedt is also pleased with the timing of the drop in prices.

“Having it be Christmas time, I would think it would be more with people traveling, but it’s not,” she said. “I have noticed [the change] tremendously. The other day, I went to fill up my tank, and I was shocked. I was expecting to spend so much more than I actually did.”

UI freshman Madeline Hahn has also taken note of the changes.

“Yes, I’ve definitely noticed,” she said. “When I fill up my tank, it’s much cheaper. I hope prices stay this low because it’s annoying to have to spend $50 about every two weeks on gas. That’s tough for a college kid.”

Though all Iowa residents have noticed and are grateful for this change, some officials are not sure how long it will last.

“As these rates fluctuate with the market, predicting future prices is difficult, especially considering the cyclical nature of fuel prices,” said Mark Rummel, the associate director of Transportation Services.


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