Gas prices, once all but guaranteed to hit record highs this summer, are now forecast to keep retreating well into autumn. At the current pace, by Halloween if not sooner the national average should dip under $3 per gallon—roughly $1 cheaper than the 2012 high registered in early April.
Several Southern states are leading the race downward to the $3 marker. As of Friday, the national average stood at $3.45 for a gallon of regular, and Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas were all averaging at or below $3.30 per gallon.
South Carolina was cheapest of all ($3.04), with roughly one-third of the state’s gas stations already offering a gallon at a price that starts with a 2.
Consumer demand for gasoline has been low for months, but it’s only been in recent months, when production has picked up, that declining gas prices have reflected the lull in demand.
Now, after gas prices have dropped nationally by 50¢ in less than three months, forecasters quoted by USA Today anticipate another dip of 50¢ or so by the time Christmas shopping season rolls around:
“The market is suggesting gas below $3 by Halloween, and certainly by Thanksgiving,” says Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service.
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