Gas prices could drop with new shipping terminal in town - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

New gas shipping terminal could mean lower prices

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Gas prices have steadily declined for four weeks straight. It's a result - in part - of a positive economic outlook based on the jobless rate at a five-year low and boosting the fuel demand outlook. 

The Coastal Empire may see prices drop further due to a new gas shipping terminal in town. The only and oldest shipper in town said new business is great - but prices aren't guaranteed to drop.

Colonial Group Inc. has operated in Savannah since 1921.

"People who think that Colonial Oil has a monopoly don't understand how competitive the landscape is," said Ryan Chandler, of Colonial Group Inc.

Western Refining started shipping gas into Savannah at the beginning of the month. Savannah based gas station owner Greg Parker said it's good for consumers.

"Think about it from the convenience store standpoint. We're all competing with each other for market share and so there's a lot of robust competition in the retail market place but from wholesale perspective, there's only been one option," Parker said.

Parker said he hopes trucks like these will start shipping all throughout the Savannah community and give consumers an edge on gas prices.

"I think this competition that's being created by a new terminal will be good for the consumer," Parker said.

Chandler with Colonial Oil said that they may have been the only gasoline shipping terminal in town, but that there's competition all over the state of Georgia.

"What people ought to be asking - how in the world is it that places like Macon and North Augusta can actually offer cheaper gasoline than we can get here in Savannah," Chandler said.

Chandler said America is producing oil at an unbelievable rate - but he said that getting it to the East Coast is tough because of government regulations and that drives up the cost.

"Every Savannah consumer should be incredibly frustrated today because we're not able to take advantage of the U.S. energy boom that is going on in the U.S. Gulf Coast," Chandler said.

Chandler said the company is not opposing the whole Jones Act, just the portion than limits the transportation options for domestic energy.  

Chandler stressed that they would like to see the outdated portions amended, not eliminate the whole act.  

"While there are numerous international vessels available, there are no available Jones Act ships. If you can even find one, a shipper pays about $.07/gallon more than on an international vessel. This cost increases what consumers pay at the pump on the East Coast," Chandler said in an email. 

A group of Colonial Oil executives will be traveling to Washington D.C. next month to see if they can do anything about the limitations of getting oil from the gulf to the East Coast and Savannah. 

See this link for more details about the Jones Act

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