Gasoline Prices: Temporary Increase Turns into Steady Decrease
Gasoline prices are on a steady decline once again as the end of the year approaches. The national average hit $3.25 per gallon, the lowest it has been in almost two weeks and 14 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.
Three states (Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas) have dipped below $3.00 per gallon, with signs that some states, such as Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Utah, will soon follow suit, as their unleaded gasoline averages under $3.05 per gallon.
The lower prices have seemingly affected demand, as it is currently on a slight rise which is unusual for this time of year. Despite this, and perhaps because North American crude oil has slid to be $15-$50 per barrel below the global crude price, fleet managers can expect accelerated decreases at the pump over the next couple of days.
The continuous decline of ethanol costs, which can make up 10% of the gasoline blend, also contributes to the lower prices.
Currently, 10% of the country’s stations are reporting prices under $3.00 per gallon, compared to just 1% this time last year, and the percentage is projected to grow larger through December. The region least likely to see these low prices will be the eastern seaboard—primarily the Northeast. However, the Rocky Mountains and northern Midwest can expect the biggest drop.
Diesel, on the other hand, is biased to move higher towards $4.00 per gallon between now and the New Year. The colder months drive up the prices because diesel fuel is being used for heating.