Gas Price Slide Hits 53 Days as National Average Nears Four-Year Low

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, November 17, 2014) The national average price of gasoline has remained below $3.00 per gallon for 17 days, with more than three-quarters of U.S. gas stations now reporting prices below this benchmark. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.89 per gallon, which is the lowest mark since December 2, 2010. Today’s price represents a savings of four cents per gallon compared to one week ago, a savings of 24 cents compared to a month ago and 32 cents compared to one year ago.

 National Average Gas Price Comparison 2011 to 2014 November 17 2014

The price at the pump is closely tied to the wholesale price of crude oil, and falling global oil prices have been the primary contributing factor to the price at the pump declining for 53 consecutive days. This is the longest streak of declines since 2008. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, dropped to its lowest level in more than three years this past Thursday ($74.21 per barrel). Lower crude oil costs are the main reason why drivers are paying  an average of 81 cents per gallon less than the 2014 peak of $3.70 per gallon (April 28). The downward pressure on prices is expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holiday, meaning drivers are likely to be giving thanks for the cheapest seasonal prices since 2009 when the national average registered $2.63 on the holiday.

 AAA Top Ten Most Expensive Average Gas Prices November 17 2014

Across the country, state averages continue to tick downward with consumers in 48 states and Washington, D.C. experiencing week-over-week savings at the pump. Thirty-five states are reporting an average less than $3.00 per gallon and three states, including Montana, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, are just fractions of a cent from also falling below this benchmark. Drivers in South Carolina ($2.63), Mississippi ($2.66) and Tennessee ($2.66) are paying the nation’s lowest averages for retail gasoline. The nation’s three most expensive markets – Hawaii ($3.96), Alaska ($3.59) and New York ($3.24) – are among those reporting savings over this same period, and for the second consecutive week no state has an average that is above the $4.00 per gallon mark.

Month-over-month comparisons show that drivers in every state and Washington, D.C are paying less to refuel their vehicles. West Coast and Rocky Mountain states are registering the largest drops in prices at the pump, led by California (-37 cents), Oregon (-34 cents), Montana (-31 cents) and Arizona (-30 cents). Consumers in 20 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a quarter or more per gallon versus one month ago, and those in every state but Iowa are enjoying double-digit discounts at the pump. The monthly discount in Iowa falls just short of this threshold at 9.97 cents.

 AAA Top Ten Largest Yearly Savings in Gas Prices November 17 2014

The most dramatic discounts are evident when comparing year-over-year averages. Drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are paying less, and those in 47 states and D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon when they refuel their vehicles. Averages are down by a quarter or more in 33 states and Washington, D.C., and motorists in Delaware (-42 cents), South Carolina (-42 cents) and California (-42 cents) are saving the most per gallon over this period.

Global prices for crude oil continue to fall, touching lows not seen since 2010. Market analysts continue to speculate on what action the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will take during the upcoming meeting, scheduled for Nov 27. Should the cartel opt to cut production, the price at the pump for motorists could return higher. If OPEC instead chooses to maintain market share by leaving production unchanged, global oil prices could slide even further.  At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled $1.61 higher at $75.82 per barrel.

 

 

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