Just How Low Will Gas Prices Go?
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gas is being sold for less than $2 per gallon in the United States for the first time since July 30, 2010. An Oklahoma OnCue Express station offered the price of $1.99 per gallon Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, the national average is $2.75 for a gallon of regular gasoline as of the same day, marking the lowest average since Oct. 5, 2010. Nationally, gas prices are approximately 52 cents per gallon less than one year ago, the greatest year-over-year savings since 2009, according to the new AAA Monthly Gas Price Report.
AAA estimates that Americans are saving $200 million per day on gasoline compared to a year ago.
"Gas prices have fallen at a remarkable pace that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago," said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. "Lower gas prices represent real doorbuster savings as everyone begins their holiday shopping."
Average gas prices in the U.S. have dropped 69 days in a row for a total of 60 cents per gallon, which is the longest streak of consecutive price declines since autumn 2008. In November, the average gas price was $2.89 per gallon, the lowest monthly average since November 2010. Last November, prices averaged $3.23 per gallon.
The main factor behind this sharp drop in prices is significantly lower crude oil costs. Gas prices are expected to drop another 15 to 20 cents per gallon by New Year's Day, according to the AAA report.
"The holiday joy should continue as gas prices drop even further in the weeks ahead," Ash said. "We could see prices drop to the lowest levels since the Great Recession if the cost of crude oil continues to set multi-year lows."
Gas prices typically remain low in the winter because people drive less and therefore use less gasoline during the colder months. Unless there is an unexpected spike in the cost of crude oil or an unanticipated disruption to domestic refining or distribution, there is little reason to expect gas prices to increase significantly until spring. Americans who travel this holiday season will likely pay the lowest December gas prices since 2009.
Meanwhile, U.S. consumers are increasingly likely to find a station selling gas for less than $2.50 per gallon. Fifteen percent of gas stations are selling gas below this threshold, while only 12 percent are selling gas for more than $3 per gallon.
The five states with the lowest average gas prices are Missouri ($2.44), Mississippi ($2.51), South Carolina ($2.51), Texas ($2.52) and Oklahoma ($2.53), while the five states with the highest average prices are Hawaii ($3.85), Alaska ($3.50), New York ($3.15), Connecticut ($3.09) and California ($3.04).
Forty-two states currently have an average price below $3 per gallon, and it is possible that every state except Connecticut, New York, Alaska and Hawaii will have averages below that price by next week.