Energy Economy

Little Gas Price Relief in America's Largest Cities

Douglas A. McIntyre

People in the largest cities in the United States cannot take much comfort in the fact that the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped below $3. In places like New York and Los Angeles, the price is not nearly that low, according to research firm GasBuddy.

One could argue that gas prices are still high in these cities because they are located in states with high gas taxes. Most are not near refineries as well. There is some truth to these arguments. The price of gas is $2.68 in Dallas and Ft Worth. It is nearly as low in most other cities in Texas. The same holds true for every city in Alabama and Louisiana.

At the far end of the spectrum, the price of gas is $3.51 in San Francisco, $3.39 in New York, $3.35 in Los Angeles and $3.20 in Chicago. That does not matter much — unless it is important that gas prices are low in cities that make up a significant portion of the population. The problem gets worse based on the gas price for the entire states where these cities are. The price of gas in New York state is, on average, for regular $3.37, in California $3.23 and $3.13 in Pennsylvania. Among those states lives 22% of the total U.S. population.

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AAA management commented about the price drop:

The national average price of gas tomorrow will drop below $3.00 per gallon for the first time since Dec. 22, 2010, ending its longest streak ever above that price, according to AAA. AAA estimates that lower gas prices are helping consumers save at least $250 million per day on gasoline compared to early summer when the national average reached $3.68 per gallon.

“Consumers are experiencing ‘sticker delight’ as gas prices unexpectedly drop below $3.00 in much of the country,” said Bob Darbelnet, CEO of AAA. “Lower gas prices are a boon to the economy just in time for holiday travel and shopping.

Maybe that is true, except for people who live in New York City.