US gas prices could fall below $2 per gallon in cheapest areas, analyst says
LOS ANGELES - The national average of gas prices has fallen for the fourth straight week, and may soon fall under $2 per gallon in some areas, according to an analyst from a company that sources real-time fuel prices.
“More impressively is the surprise that may soon hit some motorists: the nation’s cheapest gas prices may soon fall back under $2 per gallon as oil prices have plummeted nearly $14 in the last 8 weeks,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
The national average gas price on Wednesday is $2.74, according to AAA. That's seven cents cheaper than last week, 13 cents less than a month ago and 18 cents cheaper than a year ago, the company said.
“Refinery utilization in the United States is at its highest level since early January, resulting in overall gasoline stocks at healthy levels to meet robust summer demand. Prices are dropping due to cheaper crude oil and at the same time U.S. supply is keeping pace with demand,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokeswoman.
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey also said that lower crude oil prices contributed to the drop at the pump.
“The national average is poised to fall to at least $2.70 this week – an indication that pump prices may be even cheaper this summer,” Casselano said.
Meanwhile, the average cost of the top 10 percent stations price-wise stood at $3.82 per gallon, which is down from $3.88 a week ago, GasBuddy reported. By contrast, the bottom 10 percent of stations in terms of price averaged $2.30, while the median U.S. gas price was $2.70, the report said.
On Sunday, the average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline dropped 9 cents per gallon over the past three weeks, to $2.84.
The highest average price in the nation is $3.94 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area, while the lowest average is $2.27 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The average price of diesel fell by 4 cents since May 17, to $3.12.
“Average gasoline prices are likely to drop for a fifth straight week this week as last week’s additional plunge in oil prices continues to pressure retail gas prices lower,” GasBuddy reported. “With no breakthrough seen in U.S./China trade tensions and new worries over Mexico trade relations, the national average is likely to continue lower for several more weeks.”
The decrease in gas prices could be prompted by worries about President Donald Trump's tariffs, which led to a slowdown in oil demand at the same time as U.S. oil inventories having rebounded sharply, DeHaan said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.