Gas prices in the U.S. have fallen nearly 15 cents during June, the national Lundberg Survey showed this week. The nationwide average has now fallen below $3.50 for the first time since cresting at $3.97 in early April. Prices one year ago averaged $3.63 per gallon, CNN reported.
The downward spike counters normal trends, when higher demand from summer driving brings prices upward. Demand for gas is actually up slightly, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said, but concerns about the global economy and whether Europe is headed for a recession sent oil prices down. Europe’s benchmark oil, Brent crude, has seen its price drop by 25 percent since April, CNN reported.
The survey included prices from more than 2,000 gas stations across the lower 48 states. It found that the most expensive place to drive is in the San Francisco Bay Area, where gas prices topped off at $3.95 per gallon. Drivers in Jackson, Miss., had the lowest prices at $3.03 per gallon.
A survey from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found even lower prices there, with one station in Macon, Ga., selling gas at $2.90 per gallon. The Journal-Constitution found experts who said the nationwide average should dip below $3 per gallon by this fall.
“[T]he market is suggesting gas below $3 by Halloween, and certainly by Thanksgiving,” Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service told USA Today. The Journal-Constitution noted that other experts said such a dip in gas prices during the fall is normal ahead of rising demand again in winter.
Not all areas will see gas prices south of $3, AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady told the Journal-Constitution. The low prices in Georgia will have a hard time making it into large metro areas like Atlanta, she noted.
“I think (gas prices) will continue to trend as they have,” Brady told the Journal-Constitution. “I think we could dip below $3 in some areas. I don’t think we are going to see a below-$3 average across the board.”