Energy Economy

Gas Prices Continue Dropping as Christmas Holiday Nears

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline decreased by three cents per gallon last week to $2.55, according to industry analysts at GasBuddy. The drop marks the sixth consecutive week of falling pump prices. Last week’s drop was the largest in at least three weeks.

Crude oil traded around $60.20 a barrel early Monday morning, up about 0.2% from Friday’s closing price of $60.07. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for immediate delivery has risen by about $3.00 a barrel (more than 5%). Friday’s closing price was the highest since mid-September.

GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick DeHaan, commented, “Gasoline prices have slid to their lowest level since March thanks to rising U.S. gasoline inventories and sluggish demand, certainly bringing some Christmas cheer to motorists. The jump in gasoline inventories has been so large it has offset oil prices which touched $60 per barrel last week, as well as the U.S. and China suggesting they’ve reached a trade deal. Pending more significant proven trade ties between the two major countries, we may have seen the rally in oil stall for now, as refined product inventories post notable jumps going into the end of the year. “

DeHaan added, “It may take more inspiration for oil’s recent run to translate over into lackluster gasoline, with motorists the clear beneficiaries—they’ll be able to spend a bit more on shopping for those last minute Christmas gifts.”

The week’s median price for a gallon of regular gas was $2.43, down four cents week over week. The average price at the 10% of gas stations charging the most for gas was $3.57, six cents a gallon lower, while the average at the 10% charging the least remained at $2.11, up two cents for the week. The most common price across the country was $2.39 a gallon, down 10 cents week over week.

The five states where drivers are paying the most for gas are Hawaii ($3.90), California ($3.66), Nevada ($3.27), Washington ($3.15) and Alaska ($3.13). Oregon is the only other state that currently reports a price of more than $3 a gallon.

The five states where gas is cheapest are Missouri ($2.18), Mississippi ($2.19), Louisiana ($2.21), Texas ($2.22) and Oklahoma ($2.22).

Compared to last month, the national average is down 5.7 cents per gallon, and compared to last year, prices are up about 19 cents. And see what a gallon of gas cost the year you were born.