Lowest Crude Prices In Nearly 30 Months Brings Relief To Drivers
The price of a gallon of gas hit a new low for the season as the national average cost fell to only $3.21, according to the latest weekly survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA report shows gas prices at the national level fell more than 9¢ per gallon over the past week, although some regions experienced a larger decline. For the Gulf Coast region, prices have fallen so low that some stations are selling fuel for less than $3.00 per gallon.
Region by region, the news for drivers is very good. Even on the West Coast, where prices are traditionally the highest in the country, the price of regular unleaded has fallen to $3.54 per gallon, and while that number is much higher than other survey regions, it is more than 50¢ per gallon less than the peak price, which was recorded at $4.07 per gallon in the April 28, 2014 survey. For most drivers across the U.S., the price of gas ranges between $3.20 and $3.35 per gallon.
The declining cost of retail gas is due to a decline in global demand, a slowdown in U.S. demand with the end of summer driving, and higher shale oil production in the U.S. These factors, among others, have pushed domestic crude oil prices to their lowest levels since the end of June 2012; West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was flirting with the $80 per barrel level early Tuesday, down about $25 per barrel from the summer peak. Overseas, Brent Light Sweet Crude is also at a low point. In fact, the spread between Brent and WTI was less than $3 dollars Tuesday. The difference between the two benchmark futures indices has been much greater in recent years, sometimes more than $25 per barrel, according to MarketRealist.com.
Urban Gas Prices Higher Than Regional Levels
While all drivers are catching a price break at the pump, drivers in many cities are not getting quite the break their rural counterparts are enjoying. Overall, prices in urban areas are down, but drivers typically pay as much as 35¢ per gallon more at some city gas stations than they would if they drove just a few miles out of town. For instance, prices in the Lower Atlantic states are current averaging $3.15 per gallon, but prices in the urban core of Fort Lauderdale, the home of Turnpike Information Company, are as high as $3.49 per gallon. In adjacent Oakland Park, Florida, which shares a border with its larger neighbor, prices are only $3.25 per gallon for regular unleaded, a 24¢ difference.
Truckers Getting A Price Break, But Not As Dramatic
The price of diesel fuel is coming down, but not as quickly as the cost of gasoline. The price of retail diesel fell by about 4¢ per gallon during the past week, brining the national average price of diesel down to $3.70. Prices fell the most across the West Coast and the Central Atlantic states. California has the most expensive diesel in the U.S., with prices still near $4.00 per gallon; the Midwest and Gulf Coast regions have the lowest diesel prices at the moment, with averages in each region currently at $3.64 per gallon.