Prices Officially Slip Below $3.00 Per Gallon In Some Areas
The cost of gasoline has hit another fresh low this week, with the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded now at just $3.19, a sharp drop of over 7¢ from last week. This week also marks the first time this season prices have dipped below $3.00 per gallon, according to the weekly gas price survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Although most regional prices are not yet below the $3.00 level, drivers in states along the Gulf Coast are paying an average of $2.98 per gallon. In some areas, the price is much lower.
The cheaper cost of driving comes at a fortuitous time for seasonal travelers, many of whom are heading to southern states, particularly Florida, to take up winter residency. The new price lows also come ahead of holiday traveling, which will begin picking up volume by late November with Thanksgiving.
While the lowest regional average was in the Gulf Coast, many other areas are enjoying very cheap gas. Drivers across the Midwestern states are enjoying an average $3.07 gas price, while travelers across the broader eastern seaboard are paying an average $3.24. California and West Coast drivers are still paying up to $3.51, on average, for regular unleaded.
Truckers Benefit From Lower Diesel Prices
The cost of operating a diesel rig or fleet of trucks has gone down, at least in terms of fuel costs. The price of the average gallon of diesel is now at $3.83, nationwide, and at a low of $3.75 for Gulf Coast truckers. However, prices at many stations near toll roads, like ones in Texas, are witness to prices well below their regional averages. At one station near Austin, close to the Texas 45 Toll Road, the price of diesel was only $3.59 per gallon.
Too Much Supply As WTI Heads Lower
Lower crude oil prices in recent weeks have contributed to the decline in fuel prices, but there is also a glut of supply at many refineries, even as refinery capacity is undergoing seasonal adjustments. As for the price of crude, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed Tuesday at $93.16, although it had traded as low as $92.86, intraday. Brent crude closed at $106.14, although it had been as low as $103.46 late last week.
The lower seasonal demand, despite spikes in traffic around certain holidays, is also another factor playing into the reduced price of gas. But there is a longer-term trend toward even lower prices, according to a recent forecast from the EIA. Gas prices are expected to continue decling through the holiday season and well into 2014, according to the report.