MIAMI & GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- The first week of February started off with a national average retail gasoline price of $1.80 per gallon, which is the lowest point since January 2009, and more than $1 per gallon below 2015’s peak, according to AAA. The national average had also remained below the $2-per-gallon mark for 32 consecutive days.
Seasonal demand dynamics and lower crude prices helped ease gas prices downward for 24 of the past 26 days. The result is a national retail average 3 cents per gallon (CPG) lower than the week prior, 20 CPG below the month prior and 26 CPG than the year prior, according to AAA.
In 43 states the average is now below $2 per gallon, with Oklahoma ($1.49) and Missouri ($1.50) seeing the lowest prices; 25 states have averages below $1.75 per gallon.
Hawaii had the highest state average at $2.63 per gallon, followed by California at $2.58 per gallon. California’s prices appear to be on a downward track, according to AAA, as resolved refinery issues helped state gasoline supply reach its highest point since 2014. The remaining top five highest state averages could be found in Alaska ($2.42), Nevada ($2.27) and Washington ($2.16).
According to GasBuddy, Gaithersburg, Md., February began with the lowest start for the month since 2004, when the national average was $1.59. While almost all states saw their averages fall over the past week, Alaska actually gained 3.6 CPG.
States in the middle of the country had the lowest averages, GasBuddy reported, led by Oklahoma at $1.46 per gallon, Missouri ($1.50), Kansas ($1.57), Arkansas ($1.57) and Alabama ($1.58). The cheapest gas in the country at the start of the week could be found at a station in Schererville, Ind., which was selling regular grade for $1.21 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.
States enjoying the biggest declines in gasoline prices vs. a year ago were Indiana (58 CPG), Hawaii (49 CPG), Illinois (49 CPG), Kentucky (47 CPG) and Michigan (46 CPG). States with the highest averages vs. a year ago: Idaho (15 CPG), California (14.5 CPG), Nevada (6.6 CPG), Utah (4.1 CPG) and Washington (3.2 CPG).
How long the gasoline price declines will continue is up for speculation. Reports that Saudi Arabia, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and Russia might soon discuss possible production cuts helped Brent and West Texas Intermediate prices rally last week.
In its latest fuel price report, AAA said the eventual outcome of these talks and any production cuts is still unclear.
“The feasibility of both countries agreeing to these cuts remains in question,” AAA said, “and the global oil market will also have to contend with Iranian oil returning to the global market following the removal of sanctions.”