Some Good News: Gas Prices Trending Down
If there’s any relief from the turmoil that’s been rocking the markets it’s this: The cost of filling up your gas tank is falling, despite gyrations in the per-barrel cost of oil, and experts expect it to continue to do so up to and beyond Labor Day, according to a report on CBS MarketWatch.
“After a year of bad luck with gas prices, consumers will see prices come down at the pump pretty dramatically in the coming weeks,” said Phil Flynn, energy analyst at PFGBest Research.
“As we approach the end-of-summer driving season, when we flip back to cheaper blends of oil and we’re seeing that the global demand for oil was not as strong as we thought it would be, we could see prices fall as much as 25 cents to 50 cents at the pump,” he added.
In the past week alone, the price per gallon of gasoline has tumbled 7 cents to a U.S. average of $3.63 on Aug. 10, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That’s on par with month-ago averages, yet still painfully higher than the year-ago average of $2.78 a gallon.
And though gasoline demand is down roughly 2% compared to a year ago, the prices are at the second-highest level ever, AAA said. The record was set July 17, 2008, at $4.11 a gallon average throughout the country.
On Wednesday, the barrel price for crude oil futures climbed to $82.89, off of Tuesday’s all-year low, after the Energy Information Administration turned in four-week results of slumping demand, following a five-month trend. The consumer call for oil byproducts has fallen as gasoline costs have risen but the jump in crude-oil prices Wednesday was powered by speculation that the Federal Reserve will pump more money into the economy to stimulate its growth.
The spring and summer seasons tend to be toughest on gas prices. This year was no exception, but there were outside forces like civil unrest in the Mideast and the flooding that overwhelmed much of Mississippi that disrupted production, keeping prices higher than they might normally have been through July.
Prices typically peak the first two weeks of May, like they did this year at $3.98 a gallon on May 5. Then prices moderate some before climbing again ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. This year, however, prices went down slightly, to $3.79 a gallon by May 30.
Bucking the historical pattern again, they tumbled to $3.57 a gallon by the Independence Day weekend, according to AAA. But they inched back up this year after the holiday and have stayed at those loftier levels until this week.
“We don’t know how much the price of gasoline will decrease in coming weeks, but we think the downward pressure will continue,” said Troy Green, AAA’s spokesman.
That’s good news to consumers who were planning on getting behind the wheel for the last-hurrah road trip before school starts, and more importantly, for families living on fixed incomes or paycheck-to-paycheck.