Motorists looking to save money this holiday season should be happy to know that gasoline prices are the lowest they have been since February 2011. Today’s national average of $3.24 for a gallon of regular gasoline is the lowest nationwide price of 2012. Entering last weekend, the lowest price this year had been $3.28 on January 1; however, beginning last Saturday, the national average has reached a new 2012 low on four consecutive days.
Locally, of the 11 stations surveyed, the average price of a gallon of gas is $3.01. Gas at some local stations can be purchased for $2.95 a gallon. The average price for gasoline in Altus a year ago was $3.08 per gallon, a month ago it was $3.10, and six months ago it was $3.29.
Today’s statewide price is nine cents less expensive than one week ago and 18 cents less than one month ago, but it is still a penny more expensive than one year ago. Despite a national average that has declined for 26 consecutive days and 65 of the previous 71, today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day. This continues the now 120-day streak of daily record prices that began on August 20. AAA expects the national average to continue to decline approaching the end of the year. The streak of year-over-year records could come to an end in the coming days.
Those traveling northeast from Oklahoma over Christmas and New Year’s will be interested in knowing that the state with the lowest statewide gasoline price average, as of Tuesday, is Missouri at $2.946, followed by Oklahoma, $3.006, and South Carolina, $3.028. The Oklahoma average has not been this low since Feb. 17, 2011. The state’s high this year is $3.77, reached on two days in mid-September.
Oklahoma’s other neighboring states report a wide range of statewide averages today: Texas, $3.039; Arkansas, $3.044; Kansas, $3.089; New Mexico, $3.128; and Colorado, $3.177. Average state and city prices, updated daily by surveying 120,000 stations electronically, are available at AAAFuelGaugeReport.com.
Relief is being felt by motorists across the country as pump prices continue to fall approaching the busy year-end holiday travel period. These prices have been driven lower by a number of factors, including the switch to winter-blend fuel, which is less expensive to produce; increasing gasoline inventories; cheaper crude oil prices; lower demand; and economic concerns.
Crude oil prices have increased slightly over the last week, but they continue to trade lower than the same period in 2011 and have kept downward pressure on retail prices at the pump. On the NYMEX, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has been hovering in the $85 to $89 range as of late. WTI has not settled above $90 per barrel since October 19. Last year, the price of WTI settled above $90 per barrel on October 24 and did not settle below that mark again until May 23, 2012.