Prices Slip As Crude Falls Below $80 Per Barrel
The U.S. average price for a gallon of gas is now officially below the $3.00 per gallon threshold, according to the latest pricing survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The E.I.A. reports shows over half of all survey regions now average under that same benchmark.
The highest price for gas is still being paid on the West Coast of the U.S.; however, even in that survey district, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded is down to $3.24. Remove expensive California from the formula, and the West Coast average is, itself, only $3.13, in line with other regions where the price of gas remains above the $3.00 mark, including New England and the Rocky Mountain states.
The plunge in retail gas prices tied to the steep decline in recent weeks of the price of crude oil. Both domestic crude, West Texas Intermedia, and the overseas benchmark, Brent Light Sweet Crude, are down significantly from their early-summer highs. WTI is even trading below $80 per barrel, the first time it has been that low in 30 months, according to CNBC.
In the meantime, some hedge fund managers are calling for short-term prices to remain low and move lower. Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates told CNBC earlier today he expects the average gas price in the U.S. to be $2.80 by the Thanksgiving holiday. That would certainly be great news for drivers hitting the road during that critical travel weekend. If that prediction holds true, that price point would also be 91¢ less than the peak price earlier this year. The U.S. average topped off at 3.71 at the end of April.
Diesel Prices Fall, But Not As Fast As Unleaded
Truckers and other drivers of diesel-powered vehicles are experiencing a break at the pump, too; however, the price declines for diesel have not been as steep as those for their gasoline-powered counterparts. Diesel fell only about a penny per gallon during the past week, much smaller than the six-cent decline for regular unleaded gas.
Even so, the price of gas for all vehicles, whether gasoline or diesel, is down significantly from a year ago. For regular gas, the cost of a gallon of fuel is now 27¢ less than last year; diesel is down over 23¢ from this period in 2013.