Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | October 21, 2013

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, October 21, 2013) Today’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.35 per gallon and is just fractions of a penny above the nearly nine-month low registered one week ago. The last time the national average registered less than $3.34 per gallon was January 25, when prices began a surge of 49 cents in 41 days toward a 2013 high of $3.79 per gallon on February 27.

Today’s national retail average is more expensive than one week ago, but remains 14 cents per gallon less than one month ago and 33 cents less than the same day last year. After falling for a multi-year record of 36 consecutive days, the price at the pump has been essentially flat for the last two weeks, increasing less than half a cent since October 7. Despite the recent pause in the decline, AAA continues to expect that gas prices will fall even further approaching the end of the year. Due to sufficient supplies, flat demand and the shift to cheaper winter-blend gasoline, and barring a hurricane or other unexpected disruption to production and distribution, the national average is likely to fall to $3.10-20 per gallon by Christmas, which would be the lowest mark since February 2011.


As discussed in last Monday’s AAA Fuel Gauge Report, continued crude oil prices above $100 per barrel would provide an effective floor for how low retail gas prices could go. Today, after nearly 16 straight weeks above $100, the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil returned below this threshold and settled $1.59 lower at $99.22 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. If this slide were to continue in the days and weeks ahead we would expect to see retail gas prices turn lower again.

The national average price of gasoline has remained flat in recent weeks; however prices at the state level have been a mixed bag. Gas prices in 17 states and Washington D.C. are more expensive than one week ago, including two states where prices are at least a nickel higher (Ga. +5 cents and Ohio +6 cents). Prices in the remaining 33 states have fallen, led by two states where they have decreased more than a nickel (Wash. -5 cents and Mont. -6 cents). Despite some variation in weekly price movement, motorists in every state with the exception of South Carolina are paying less to fill their car than one month ago. Prices in seven states have dropped by at least 20 cents while the average price in Kansas has fallen more than 30 cents.


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