South Dakota’s average price this week for regular self-serve gasoline stands at $3.240, twenty one cents below one month ago according to www.AAAFuelGaugeReport.com. Over the past five and one-half months, the statewide average has slipped 73 cents. As recently as May 22, South Dakota’s average was $3.967.
The national average today is $3.24 per gallon, the lowest since December 21, 2012. This price is four cents cheaper than one week ago, 11 cents less than one month ago and 23 cents below the price on Nov. 5, 2012. Prices have dropped 35 cents since September 1 and have fallen on 58 of 65 days during this stretch.
Lower prices at the pump are being seen nationwide, as motorists in every state and Washington, DC are appreciating cheaper prices than a year ago. Drivers in 48 states and D.C. are paying less than one month ago, led by drops of at least 20 cents in nine states and 33 cents in Montana. Only two states (Ohio and Indiana) are posting higher month-over-month pump prices, and both averages have risen less than a penny and one-half. These also are two of only four states — including Michigan and Hawaii — where prices are higher on the week.
Even as national gas prices have drifted lower, sustained expensive crude oil prices have been an effective floor for how low pump prices could fall. After settling above $100 per barrel for 15 straight weeks, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil finally settled below this mark on October 21 and has remained there each trading day since. At the close of yesterday’s formal trading on the NYMEX WTI settled at $94.62 per barrel, a penny above Friday’s settlement price, the lowest since June 21.
AAA expects the national average price of gas could drop to a low of about $3.10 per gallon by Christmas, which would be the cheapest average since February 2011. As many as ten states or more could see local averages drop below $3.00 per gallon. “Expect a nice holiday bonus in the form of much cheaper gas prices,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokeswoman for AAA South Dakota “The national average should get tantalizingly close to $3 per gallon, and many consumers will find bargains below that price before the year is over.” The annual average for 2013 likely will be the cheapest since 2010 and is currently at $3.54 per gallon. Last year’s annual average of $3.60 per gallon was the most expensive on record.