The price for an average gallon of regular has dropped below $2 in some parts of the United States. In other areas, the price is barely a few pennies higher. It is part of a trend that has driven down gasoline prices nationwide for over a month. Oil prices also have fallen sharply over the same period.
The price of a gallon of gas nationwide is $2.34, down from $2.39 a month ago. However, prices vary widely. On a statewide basis, according to GasBuddy, the price of an average gallon of regular is $2.01 in Oklahoma, and the price continued to drop recently. At the other end of the spectrum, gas prices in Hawaii are $3.03 but also have dropped recently.
The cities where gas prices are below $2, or hovering just above that level, are in two states that traditionally have the lowest prices among them all: Oklahoma and South Carolina. The average price in Tulsa is $1.97 a gallon. The price in Greenville, South Carolina, is the same. The price in Oklahoma City is $1.98, while it is $1.99 in Spartanburg. The price is $2.01 in Columbia and $2.03 in Myrtle Beach.
Crude oil prices, the primary contributor to gas prices, have dropped from $53 a barrel a month ago to below $47. The trend continues to be downward and the per-barrel price dropped to just above $44 recently. Bloomberg has reported that oil could drop below $40 unless OPEC and other several other oil-producing nations extend their current export limits. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s head of research, Christof Ruehl, told the news agency: “If OPEC and the coalition don’t extend the agreement to continue cuts, that price floor will go. Without it, prices would fall, and there’s nothing to stop oil going below $40 a barrel.”
Low gas prices in Oklahoma and South Carolina are also driven by low state taxes and levies. The American Petroleum Institute reports that the gas tax in South Carolina is the second lowest among all states at $0.352 a gallon. Oklahoma is third lowest at $0.354. The national average is $0.495. The state with the highest gas tax is Pennsylvania at $0.777. It is no accident that Pennsylvania is the state with the fifth highest gas price in the country at $2.60.
If the current trend in both gas and oil prices continues, gas prices will drop below $2 in a number of other cities. In some places, it is already nearly there.