AAA: Gas prices below $2 a gallon in nine states

gas pricesNearly 20 percent of states are currently enjoying prices below $2.00 per gallon. Nationally, retail averages have dropped ­­­83 of the past 90 days. The national average for regular unleaded gasoline currently sits at $2.30 per gallon, which is six cents less than one week ago, 24 cents less than one month ago and 16 cents less than at the same time last year.

Heading into 2019, gasoline demand is expected to dwindle during the month of January, an expected change following the busy holiday travel season. At the same time, OPEC will begin production cuts on January 1, with hopes that the shift in global supply will push oil prices higher. The effectiveness of the cuts will likely not be known until later in the first quarter.

“All eyes are on OPEC to kick off the year,” said Tammy Arnette, AAA spokesperson. “Many are waiting to see if they stick to their promise to cut crude production by 1.2-million b/d and if the proposed cuts will be enough to restore balance to the market.”

Over the past few years, OPEC and partnering countries have demonstrated a strong resolve to comply with proposed cuts in production. It is likely that the cartel will reconvene in April, and if there is a need to further balance global supply and demand, OPEC will likely tweak current production numbers at that meeting.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased 29 cents to settle at $45.59. Oil prices mostly fell last week, reaching their lowest since the third quarter of 2017, as market observers have concerns  that the global crude market is oversupplied. Moreover, according to the latest weekly petroleum status report from the EIA, total domestic crude inventories took a slight step back last week. At 441.5 million bbl, crude inventories fell by 500,000 bbl. When compared to last year at this time, combined inventories across the country are still 5 million bbl higher this year. To reduce the oversupply of crude globally, earlier this month OPEC and non-OPEC producers, including Russia, announced that beginning in 2019, they will reduce crude production by 1.2 million b/d (for an initial six month period). This move could drive crude oil prices up, and in turn drive gas prices higher in the New Year.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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