AAA: Gas prices are the low­est since 2016

They are ex­pected to stay slightly lower than last year.

Rome News-Tribune - - NEWS - From staff re­ports

Gas prices this Jan­uary so far are the low­est since 2016, and gov­ern­ment data sug­gests fuel prices in 2019 will be lower than last year.

“Mo­torists should ex­pect low gas prices to linger through Jan­uary, as gaso­line de­mand is typ­i­cally the low­est of the year,” said Mark Jenk­ins, spokesman, AAA-The Auto Club Group.

Gas prices in Ge­or­gia dropped an­other 3 cents last week, Jenk­ins said, and the state av­er­age has now de­clined a to­tal of 74 cents since Oc­to­ber.

In 2018, U.S. gas prices av­er­aged $2.72 per gal­lon. AAA ex­pects that av­er­age to land some­where in the $2.50s this year.

“Although pump prices could be­come some­what volatile this month, driv­ers will no­tice a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the spring, with the up­ward trend be­gin­ning as early as Fe­bru­ary,” He said. “Putting global sup­ply and de­mand fluc­tu­a­tions aside, gas prices often rise 30-70 cents in the spring, as gaso­line de­mand in­creases, re­fin­ers con­duct sea­sonal main­te­nance and be­gin to switch to a more ex­pen­sive-to-pro­duce sum­merblend gaso­line.

AAA ex­pects pump prices to peak around $2.75 this year, but there is higher po­ten­tial if a hur­ri­cane threat­ens gulf coast re­finer­ies, or there are siz­able swings in fuel sup­plies or the econ­omy.”

Com­pared to last Me­mo­rial Day, when the state av­er­age peaked at around $2.84, Ge­or­gia driv­ers are now sav­ing an av­er­age of nearly $12 for a 15-gal­lon tank of gaso­line.

In 2018, Ge­or­gia gas prices av­er­aged $2.59 per gal­lon, for reg­u­lar un­leaded. Based on these fig­ures, if a Ge­or­gia driver bought a 15-gal­lon tank of gas ev­ery week in 2018 they would’ve spent an av­er­age to­tal of $2,020 on gaso­line last year.

That to­tal cost is $234 more than what they would’ve spent on gaso­line in 2017.

Over­all, AAA ex­pects the na­tional av­er­age to stay be­low last year’s high of $2.97, set just be­fore Me­mo­rial Day.

The lat­est Short Term En­ergy Out­look from the U.S. En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion has WTI crude av­er­ag­ing $54 per bar­rel in 2019. That’s $11 per bar­rel less than last year’s av­er­age. That $11 dif­fer­ence in oil prices sug­gests a 27.5 cent dis­count at the pump.

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