Gas prices fell across the country the past week, with the national average for regular dropping 5 cents to $2.15 a gallon — the lowest it has been since mid-August. Pump prices have fallen steadily the past two weeks, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, and motorists can expect more declines heading into the year-end holiday season.
“Historically, gasoline demand tends to decline during the month of November, and with the autumn refinery maintenance season nearing completion, pump prices are expected to move lower to close out the year, barring any unanticipated outages or supply disruptions,” AAA said in a statement.
AAA said the average price for regular gas was less than $2 in a dozen states on Thursday, compared with only two states two weeks ago. Oklahoma had the lowest statewide average at $1.86 a gallon, followed by Missouri at $1.88. Most states with sub-$2 gas were in the southern half of the country, but Indiana, at $1.98, and Minnesota, at $1.96, also were among the 12. (Prices fluctuate throughout the day and could change.)
Four states still averaged more than $2.50 a gallon for regular: Alaska, $2.63; Washington, $2.65; California, $2.72; and Hawaii, $2.89.
With the recent declines at the pump, AAA said the national average for regular is 9 cents lower than a month ago and a fraction of a penny higher than a year ago, when prices were on a steady slide that lasted into early 2016.
Premium gas also fell 5 cents the past week to $2.67 a gallon, and is 8 cents cheaper than a month ago but 3 cents higher than a year ago. Diesel fuel fell 2 cents to $2.39. That’s 2 cents cheaper than a month ago and 8 cents cheaper than at this time in 2015.
Falling oil prices have been responsible for at least some of the decline in prices at the pump. U.S. oil rose to more than $52 a barrel in early October but dropped to nearly $42 per barrel by Monday. Since then, though, crude bounced back to more than $46 in early Thursday trading. The Energy Information Administration says that crude oil accounts for 48 percent of the cost of a gallon of gas.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is scheduled to meet Nov. 30 to discuss oil-production cuts as a way to boost oil prices, though most analysts doubt there is sufficient support among members for that to be approved.