NATIONAL – According to GasBuddy’s latest report, the national average price of gasoline has dropped below $2 per gallon for the first time since March 25, 2009.
The report says over two-thirds of gas stations are selling gasoline at $1.99 or less. The national benchmark had previously failed to breach $2 a gallon due to fuel prices not dropping as quickly in the West. New refinery issues in the West may also lead the national average back up.
Thirty states now have an average price below $2. Another five states are about to join those ranks. They are Maryland, Illinois, New Hampshire, Florida and Utah.
33-percent of the nation’s gas stations have prices over $2 a gallon, and three states have zero gas stations under that level: Hawaii, California and Nevada.
Various factors have led to global crude oil prices consistently lowering. Fuel supply is significantly higher, while consumer demand has been unremarkable. GasBuddy says many of those already enjoying low prices will see them stick around for a good portion of the winter.
Senior Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy, Patrick DeHaan says prices will eventually decline further into early January as demand bottoms out, but they will not last.
“That’s because demand will begin to climb approaching the spring, as well as federal regulations that requires refineries to shift from winter-blend gasoline to summer blend. Refinery maintenance also leads to capacity going offline – capacity that is relied boost supply just as demand is rising,” DeHaan explains.
DeHaan adds, “And like clockwork, first-quarter retail prices tend to climb rapidly as this annual exercise tightens supply and consumer demand concurrently rises, but before that happens we might see the national average bottom out of $1.85.”