The average price of a gallon of gas on Oct. 13 has dropped to $3.49 a gallon in Connecticut, a decline of almost 8 cents in one week and almost 22 cents in one month.
Today’s average price is 24 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago in the state, according to GasBuddy.com, a gasoline price-tracking website.
Connecticut’s price compares to a national average of $3.18 cents, and state averages of $3.50 in New York, $3.30 in Rhode Island, $3.28 in Massachusetts, and $3.01 in New Jersey.
Lowest autumn prices since 2010
GasBuddy predicts that U.S. drivers can expect to see the cheapest autumn gasoline prices since the fall of 2010.
The cheaper fuel costs could even provide a catalyst for consumer spending. Last September, U.S. motorists spent about $40 billion for their gasoline, but this year’s September bill should be about $2.5 billion lower.
Three major developments have coalesced to provide this downward pressure on retail gas prices.
— International crude prices continue to fall at the same time that U.S. oil production is at 28-year highs (thanks to the shale oil revolution).
— Autumn brings changes in the “recipe” for U.S. gasoline. Every state, with the exception of California, can now use autumn and winter blends of gasoline that are easier for refiners to produce.
— There’s lower demand in the fall, with gasoline consumption usually about 12 million gallons per day lower than the summer driving season. The continuing use of more efficient vehicles also is tempering demand.
Under $3 a gallon soon?
“You may not see $3 per gallon gas if you live in California, New York, Connecticut or Chicago,” observes GasBuddy chief oil analyst Tom Kloza. “But we believe that more than 30 states could see prices fall below that number during the Christmas shopping season.”
The states with the lowest gas prices tend to be Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
GasBuddy does not expect prices to return to the lows of 2010, when the U.S. national average that autumn was $2.83 a gallon, reflecting the long climb back from a recession-inspired commodity collapse.
Gasoline prices tend to bottom between the Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King (mid-January) holidays.
GasBuddy operates ConnecticutGasPrices.com and more than 250 similar websites, tracking gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada.
In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app that has been downloaded more than 25 million times to help motorists find the lowest gasoline prices in their area.