Gas Price Drops Are Tapering Off, Trending Higher Compared to Last Year

December 2, 2019 by Paul Ausick

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline decreased by 0.6 cents last week to $2.58, according to industry analysts at GasBuddy. The drop marks the fourth consecutive week of falling pump prices, although the price drops have been shrinking every week as well.

Crude oil traded around $56.10 a barrel early Monday morning, up about 1.7% from Friday’s closing price of $55.17. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for immediate delivery has dipped by about $0.45 a barrel (about 0.8%). Friday’s closing price was the lowest in the past month.

GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick DeHaan, commented: “Moving in to December, aside from a possible trade deal that has been elusive for nearly 16 months, gas prices typically trend lower during the month as refiners continue to increase throughput after maintenance season and as overall weather curbs gasoline demand, easing prices. While prices are now notably higher than a year ago, I’d place much of the ‘blame’ on a strong U.S. economy and continued optimism that some sort of U.S. and China trade tie-up will be wrapped up.”

DeHaan also looked back at the Thanksgiving holiday: “The nation’s average gasoline price on Thanksgiving was slightly higher than expected at $2.58 per gallon, with a close-to-even split with roughly half the nation’s states seeing average prices decline in the last week while the other saw upward moves on continued speculation on a possible U.S./China trade deal.”

The week’s median price for a gallon of regular gas was $2.44, unchanged week over week. The average price at the 10% of gas stations charging the most for gas was $3.70, down a penny a gallon, while the average at the 10% charging the least remained at $2.11, also down a penny. The most common price across the country was $2.39 a gallon, up 10 cents week over week.

The five states where drivers are paying the most for gas are California ($3.82), Hawaii ($3.75), Nevada ($3.40), Washington ($3.25) and Oregon ($3.16). Alaska is the only other state that currently reports a price of more than $3 a gallon.

The five states where gas is cheapest are Mississippi ($2.21), Louisiana ($2.21), Missouri ($2.22), Texas ($2.24) and Oklahoma ($2.26).

Compared to last month, the national average is down 1.7 cents per gallon, and compared to last year, prices are up nearly 15 cents.

See what a gallon of gas cost the year you were born.