For the third straight week, the price for a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped at U.S. stations. At the end of last week, gas cost $2.70 a gallon on average in the United States, down by nearly three cents from the prior week. Over the three-week period, the national average has fallen by a dime a gallon.
The last time the price was this low was during the last week in June. For the record, the lowest price so far this year was posted in January at $2.23 a gallon, so prices remain about 17% above that.
GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick DeHaan, noted, “There’s a growing threat that gas prices may plunge this fall — perhaps as much as 50 cents per gallon by Thanksgiving — as headwinds have killed off any demand growth and gasoline demand plummets after summer. It appears less and less likely that the trade spat between the world’s two largest economies will cease any time soon, and that threat will likely stifle gas prices for the immediate future.”
Crude oil prices fell off a cliff Thursday following the U.S. president’s announcement that the United States would impose tariffs on virtually all Chinese exports beginning on September 1. Over the weekend, China’s central bank weakened its currency in response. The escalation in the trade war has made investors even more nervous than they already were about global economic growth for the rest of this year and next.
Nearly all 50 states saw average prices decline last week. The most common price last week for a gallon of regular gas was $2.39, down by $0.10 from the prior week. The average price at the 10% of gas stations charging the most for gas was $3.56 a gallon (unchanged week over week), while the average at the 10% charging the least was $2.26 (down three cents). The U.S. median price was $2.61, some nine cents below the national average.
Compared with the prior week, the five states where drivers are paying the most for gas are California ($3.65, down nine cents), Hawaii ($3.62, down 24 cents), Washington ($3.25, up two cents), Nevada ($3.22, down 17 cents) and Oregon ($3.13, down three cents). Alaska is the only other state where gas currently costs more than $3 a gallon.
The five states where gas is cheapest are Louisiana ($2.30, down six cents), Mississippi ($2.31, down three cents), South Carolina ($2.40, also down three cents), Alabama ($2.35, down two cents) and Arkansas ($2.35, down five cents).
GasBuddy expects lower prices to drift lower in most states as oil prices remain soft.