Gas prices across the country have been steadily decreasing over the past two months, according to a Lundberg Survey study that shows a 46 cent drop since October, almost half of which occurred in the past three weeks.
That brings the Lundberg national average down to $3.3766 a gallon. The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report has the national average for regular unleaded even lower at $3.340 per gallon.
The crashing prices are largely due to a reduction in crude prices and the resolving of refinery issues, which earlier in the year had caused a spike in prices, particularly in California.
“I’m expecting further drops at the pump, maybe as much as another dime,” Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg survey, told Bloomberg News, adding the qualifier of no significant changes in oil prices.
Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service, a research firm claiming to be the world’s most comprehensive source for petroleum pricing, agreed with Lundberg’s prediction and took it a step further in an interview with USA Today. Kloza said he sees a further 15 cent drop between now and Christmas, with drivers in some states paying less than $3 per gallon at the pump.
“We've gone from an industry that was worried about enough gas to one wondering how it will deal with all of this gas,” said Kloza. “And we haven't seen the bottom yet.”
Despite the recent drop, the year-to-year average has actually increased by 8.48 cents according, to the Lundberg survey, which bases its findings on pricing data gathered from 2,500 stations across the country.
According to Energy Department data, crude inventories as of Nov. 30 were at 371.8 million barrels, having declined 2.36 million barrels in the last week of November.
At the same time, the nation’s refineries are running at their highest level since August, just over 90 percent of capacity, a production increase of more than five percent since the summer.
West Texas Intermediate crude, also known as Texas light sweet crude, is the benchmark in oil pricing and has seen its price drop from a year-high of $109.77 per barrel in February to $85.93 a barrel on Dec. 7.
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