A Rare Summer Sight: Gas Prices Below $2
WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s been a long time since the national average for regular, unleaded fuel was as low as the $2.21 that exists today. One would have to travel back to 2004, in fact.
According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of gasoline has dropped 35 out of the past 36 days amid abundant fuel supplies and declining crude oil costs. Average prices are approximately 55 cents below what they were in July 2015.
Perhaps even better news is the abundance of sub-$2-per gallon gasoline that can currently be found throughout the country, something drivers have also not seen in the summer for more than a decade. About one in four U.S. gas stations are selling regular, unleaded gasoline for less than $2 per gallon today, and consumers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2 per gallon in 36 states, reported AAA.
The national average price is lower than $2 per gallon in seven states: South Carolina ($1.88), Mississippi ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.97), Alabama ($1.97), Tennessee ($1.97), Arkansas ($1.98) and Missouri ($1.996).
Conversely, the western portion of the country continues to have the highest gas prices, led by California ($2.85), Hawaii ($2.82), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.65), Nevada ($2.55) and Oregon ($2.53).
However, according to AAA, only about one-eighth of U.S. stations are currently selling gasoline for more than $2.50 per gallon.
AAA expects gas prices to remain low for the remainder of the summer. U.S. crude oil supplies are about 13 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline stocks have increased to 240 million barrels as refineries produce significant quantities of fuel. This is the highest ever mark for gasoline supplies during the month of July, according to Department of Energy records.
Of course, as always, refinery outages and geopolitical unrest could force gas prices to rise to unexpected levels at any time.