U.S. Average Gas Price Drops Below $2.50 for First Time in 5 Years

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The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has dropped to $2.48, the lowest price since October 2009. And the holiday cheer will continue, as prices are expected to tumble to a national average of $2.25 to $2.40 by the end of the year.

AAA, which reported these numbers on Thursday morning, also said that it anticipates that a record high 98.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more to celebrate the holidays, and that 89.5 million of those travelers will journey by car.

Gasoline prices have fallen for 84 consecutive days, a total decline of 87 cents per gallon, and the second-longest streak in AAA’s records. Since hitting a high of $3.70 a gallon in late April, gas costs $1.22 per gallon less. Over the past weeks, gas prices have dropped more than two cents a day.

AAA estimates that American drivers are saving more than $425 million a day on gasoline, compared with the higher prices earlier this year.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for February delivery lost more than 1% on Thursday, down from Wednesday’s close at $56.79 to $56.09 per barrel. Reformulated gasoline for February delivery traded on the NYMEX at $1.82 a gallon on Thursday, down nearly 3.5%. Gasoline for January delivery was even lower at $1.55 a gallon.

Thursday’s price for January-delivered Brent crude was around $60 a barrel, which implies a price of around $2.34 a gallon for gasoline in the near future.

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