I recently saw TV reports that gasoline dropped — at least temporarily — below $1 a gallon in a few areas around Snips’ home state of Michigan.

Apparently, it was part of price war among a few station owners in northern Michigan, a part of the state that relies heavily on visits from downstate tourists to prop up its economy.

Closer to home, we haven’t seen gasoline go quite that low, although it does seem to be creeping down every week. As of mid-February, it’s not hard to find stations selling unleaded regular gas for around $1.30 a gallon. Nationally, AAA says gas retails for about $1.70.

But it’s expected to get cheaper — much cheaper. Several media outlets have reported that average prices could drop under $1 in some sections of the country.

For many Americans and businesses — at least those that aren’t involved in fuel production — a drop in gas prices is like getting a raise. It also means a surge in profits, since fuel expenses are one of the largest costs for many companies.

The fact that gas is even flirting with prices under $1 is a shock to many people, me included. For several years, when gas prices seemed to spike to $3, $4 or even $5 a gallon in parts of the country, we wrote articles on how HVAC construction contractors were dealing with it (See “Gas pains: High prices make contractors search for ways to save,” July 2005; “Panicking over petrol prices,” September 2008; and “Seeking relief: Contractors come to terms with high fuel prices,” August 2011, on www.Snipsmag.com).

The solutions for dealing with the prices varied from tacking on fuel surcharges to raising standard prices or just absorbing it. One company official told me he had invested in natural gas-using vehicles, while another said he was urging workers to use a smaller company car to visit worksites and save the big pickups for times they’re really necessary.

In those articles, especially the later ones, few contractors thought gas would ever return to the prices we’re seeing now. We responded with tips on ways to maximize fuel economy and other advice to less the impact on profits.

Now that gas prices are quickly dropping and are predicted to go even lower, I wonder what sheet metal products companies and HVAC sales contractors are doing. Are you lowering prices a little bit, quietly dropping fuel surcharges instituted years ago or just enjoying a little extra space in your profit margins? Or maybe you haven’t noticed the lower prices at all? Email me at mcconnellm@bnpmedia.com or contact us through our social media channels and talk about it.


Article had good response

I wanted you to know how pleased I am with the response to the January article “Cashing out.” I have had nearly 20 emails and over 50 hits on Beacon’s website in the week after publication.

I also want to recognize the editor who improved and condensed the article. Remember, my background was a contractor/owner who bought and sold a company — with no educational foundation in writing.

Thank you for your support and opportunity to resonate with your audience. There certainly are baby boomer Snips readers who are thirsting for this information.

Kevin Kennedy


Beacon Exit Planning LLC

Elmira, New York