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How Low Can Gas Go?

As gas prices plummet, the consumers' level of happiness rises, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Geist.

Gas is cheaper than it was in 1919, when they began keeping price records.

"It's unbelievable," one motorist says as he fills his car.

Gas is now cheaper than ever, but it's cheapest of all in Georgia. Station manager Quinn Meadows scrambles to keep up with continually plunging prices and the competition.

Down the street, another station manager is making the first price move of the day by dropping her prices. Tension mounts. All eyes are on Quinn.

"I hesitate a tad so that it kind of builds suspense for them," he says.

He has the biggest sign numerals in town.

"In this business, you have to have a little bit of theatrics," Quinn says.

He drops the price to 66. The Smile Gas station reacts instantly.

"I'm right there with them," Quinn's competitor says.

Drivers are right there, too. In five minutes, a gas-guzzler can save 30 cents. Attracted to the price wars, consumers come from miles around.

"I think they are giving it away," one customer says.

The price of gas is nine or ten times cheaper than most bottled water, and it's closing in on air.

So how do gas stations stay in business?

"We sell everything outside of meat and clothes here," a cashier explains.

Cheap gas draws people into stations that serve as makeshift banks, drugstores, and supermarkets and Lotto ticket sellers. A gas station cashier says that one man has spent about $1,000 on lottery tickets alone. Lottery numbers aren't usually winners. These days, Quinn's numbers always are.

They really pull them in, "just like magnets," Quinn says.

Reported By Bill Geist

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