MAP: Where are fuel costs dropping the fastest?
(NewsNation) — There’s finally some good news for Americans at the gas pump: The average price for a gallon of regular gas fell for the 35th straight day on Wednesday, according to GasBuddy.com. But how much you celebrate will depend on where you live.
The national average now sits at $4.46 per gallon, down from $4.97 just one month previously. Experts say the downward trend should continue for at least a few more weeks.
“Oil prices have been plummeting in the last few weeks because of the rising potential for an economic slowdown, especially as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates,” said GasBuddy’s lead petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan.
De Haan projects the national average could fall below $4 per gallon by mid-August, but said it depends how economic conditions change in the coming weeks and whether hurricane season disrupts oil production.
So where are fuel costs falling the fastest?
Texas saw the biggest drop in prices, where a gallon of gas now costs $0.66 less than a month ago, according to data from the American Automobile Association (AAA). States in the Great Lakes region, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan, also saw significant decreases of around $0.60 per gallon.
In other parts of the country, gas prices have remained more stagnant, particularly in the Rocky Mountain West. Over the last month, prices in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho have dropped less than $0.10. Likewise in Colorado, where costs fell by a mere $0.14 per gallon.
De Haan said a fire at a Montana ExxonMobil refinery in March could be partially to blame. The slowdown at the plant, which produces about 600 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel each year, hit nearby states especially hard.
“The refinery has reopened in the last few weeks but as a result, supply is only starting to now gain momentum,” said De Haan.
Regionally, gas prices continue to be highest in the West — followed by the Northeast — and lowest in the South. That’s primarily due to two factors: proximity to refineries — which are heavily concentrated near the Gulf Coast — and state taxes on gasoline.
In California, where the average price for a gallon of regular gas is $5.87, the gas excise tax is 53.9 cents per gallon. By comparison, in Texas and Louisiana, where gas is $4.00 and $4.06 per gallon respectively, there’s a 20-cent state excise tax on gasoline.
Despite the recent decline, gas prices remain significantly higher than a year ago, when a gallon of regular cost $3.17 on average.
As for whether politicians deserve credit for the drop in prices, De Haan’s not convinced.
“The president does not deserve credit for the fall in prices, nor does he really deserve any blame for the rise in prices,” said De Haan. “This is a global commodity and we’re subject to global economic conditions.”
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