(WASHINGTON) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.04 per gallon, the lowest mark since December 27, 2010. Today’s price is six cents less than one week ago and twenty-five cents less than one year ago. The national average has now dropped for 32 consecutive days for a total of 30 cents per gallon.
Gas prices typically decline this time of year, but have fallen more swiftly than typical due to the sharply declining price of crude oil. The cost of crude oil accounts for approximately two-thirds of the price consumers pay for gasoline, which means, barring any other factors, gas prices continue to fall as long as crude oil prices decline. Today’s national average price of gas represents an 18 percent savings compared to the 2014 high of $3.70 per gallon, which was reached on April 28.
Seventeen states currently register an average gas price below $3.00 per gallon with drivers in South Carolina ($2.79), Tennessee ($2.79) and Mississippi ($2.80) paying the nation’s lowest average prices at the pump. Hawaii remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline with an average above $4.00 per gallon ($4.05) followed by Alaska ($3.77), New York ($3.41) and California ($3.39).
Week-over-week, average prices are down in 40 states and Washington, D.C. with the steepest drops in the Pacific Northwest: Oregon (-15 cents) and Washington (-13 cents). The average price for retail gasoline has ticked upward in 10 states with the price up a nickel or more compared to one week ago in six states. Drivers in Minnesota (+16 cents) and Oklahoma (+12 cents) in particular have seen prices jump over the past week due to tighter supplies even as the national average has ticked lower. While retail gasoline in these states is less expensive than both a month and year ago, pump prices could continue to buck the national trend until additional gasoline reaches those markets in early November.
Drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. continue to enjoy month-over-month and year-over-year savings at the pump. Compared to this same date last month, state averages are down by a quarter or more in 35 states. Oregon (-48 cents), Washington (-47 cents) and Delaware (-40 cents) are registering the largest discounts over this period, but drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are saving more than a dime per gallon. Year-over-year, the average price at the pump is down by a dime or more in 46 states and Washington, D.C., led by Delaware (-39 cents), Tennessee (-36 cents) and Alabama (-36 cents). Eighteen states are reflecting prices discounted by a quarter or more in comparison to this same date last year.
Continuing unrest in Iraq and geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe have taken a backseat to an emerging belief by many market watchers that global supply – including significantly higher oil production in the United States – is outpacing global demand growth. This assessment has helped sink West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices to near $80 per barrel for the first time since June 2012 and has fueled speculation of how the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will respond to the falling price of crude. OPEC is scheduled to convene on November 27 in Vienna to discuss global demand and the impact of increased production by non-OPEC countries. At the close of formal trading on Friday, WTI was down $1.08 at $81.01 per barrel on the NYMEX, and prices have fallen below $80 in morning trading today.