Lower Temperatures Means Lower Gas Prices?

Gas prices are already hitting a seasonal low, but with cooler temperatures on the way, believe it or not, the price you're paying now could get even lower.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel explains how that's possible.

It's all about the blend of gasoline your putting into your car. In the summer time, because of higher temperatures, there are different chemicals used to make it more environmentally-friendly than in the winter. In turn, that means the process of making that kind of gasoline is more expensive.

So, as gas stations start switching to the winter-blend, we start paying less at the pumps.

"We're in the good side of the cycle right now. And we're seeing prices go down," Don Lindsey from AAA said.

And they could continue to fall. Starting Friday, refineries nationwide will start processing what's known as winter-blend gasoline -- a cheaper version of what you've been putting into your vehicle all summer.

"What happens is, in the summer, it gets hotter.. the gasoline can evaporate quicker and that adds more pollution to the air," Lindsey said.

And more cost to the production process.

"They have to put more chemicals, you gotta think heat causes vapors. The vapors is what has your emission problem. During the winter months, you don't have the heat which is creating a lot of the vapors," Regal Petroleum general manager Phillip Freels said.

That means the process in making more environmentally-friendly fuel in the summer is more difficult and more expensive.

"The refineries have to shut down certain sections. They have to re-clean them out," Lindsey said.

Generally, winter-blends cost ten to fifteen cents less per gallon than summer-blends.

"In a way, it effects the gas price for all of us," Lindsey said.

In Knoxville, there's no requirement for certain blends in certain seasons.

"The larger cities that have smog and all that kind of stuff, we don't have that issue," Freels said.

But a switch throughout the nation means everyone reaps the benefits.

-<49:37 Charlie Keisler Jr./POWELL>- "I hope it does better for our vehicles and we could all use a price change," Powell resident Charlie Keisler, Junior said.

It's important to point out that just because winter-grade is cheaper, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll always pay less than we have this summer.
Other factors, beyond our control -- like natural disaster for instance -- can always push up that price.