National Average Gas Price On Verge Of Going Below $2.00
The cost of a gallon of gasoline kept declining at the rate of a penny per day, on average, during the past week, according to the latest weekly survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The nation’s gas now averages just $2.07 for each gallon of regular unleaded, although prices in many areas are well below $2.00.
The cheapest prices are found along the Gulf Coast, where the average cost of gas is only $1.84, followed fairly closely by the Rocky Mountain survey region, where prices are $1.91 per gallon. The Midwest is averaging $1.92 per gallon. While the remainder of the survey regions have prices above the $2.00 threshold, even the most costly gas, found on the West Coast, is now only $2.38 per gallon.
Gas prices have continued to decline even as crude oil prices have finally leveled off, somewhat. The retail cost of fuels had been following the precipitous decline of crude since the middle of summer, when gas prices were in the high $3.00 ranges, and well over $4.00 in some parts of the country. Such prices seem almost nightmarish in the wake of the today’s cheap prices.
Diesel Slips Below $3.00 Per Gallon
Meanwhile, the price of diesel has slipped under $3.00. The national average for diesel is now just $2.93 per gallon, with some survey regions enjoying prices as low as $2.83, as in some parts of the West Coast, though not in California. The Gulf Coast region has the lowest overall price for diesel, where the prices are averaging about $2.84 per gallon.
Overall, the year-on-year price changes are substantial. For truckers, the cost of a gallon of diesel is about 94¢ less than this time last year. For commuters, the cost of a gallon of regular gas is now $1.23 less than at the start of 2014; however, the price decline since the middle of the summer is even greater.
During the past year, the nation’s average gas price, according to the E.I.A., topped off at $3.71, at the end of April, 2014, and again at $3.70, at the end of June. Those levels are $1.64 and $1.63 higher than the current price average of $2.07. Whether prices will continue falling, however, remains to be seen. The reason is that crude oil prices appear to have halted what had been a calamitous fall since the middle of summer.
Crude Prices Relatively Stable After Disastrous End To ’14
West Texas Intermediate, the domestic crude benchmark, has been hovering between $46 and $50 per barrel since about January 6; Brent, the overseas index, has also been more stable since the 6th of January, trading in a range between $48 and $52 per barrel. However, both indices are still trending slightly lower, albeit at a much slower pace than the latter half of 2014.
The likelihood of crude oil rebounding enough to halt the gas price decline remains uncertain, but at least one OPEC minister told an economic summit meeting in Davos, Switzerland he expected prices to normalize soon. Without providing a timeline, OPEC’s secretary-general, Abdullah al-Badri, said he believed crude prices would begin rising as investment firms scaled back their exposure in future production.