As the end of the year approaches, gasoline prices are on a steady decline once again. The national average hit $3.25 per gallon — the lowest it has been in almost two weeks and 14 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, according to WEX Inc.'s November fuel prices report.
Three states (Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas) have dipped below $3 per gallon. And some states (Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska and Utah) have unleaded gasoline averages under $3.05 per gallon, says WEX.
The lower prices have seemingly affected demand, as it is currently on a slight rise which is unusual for this time of year. Despite this — and perhaps because North American crude oil has slid to $15-$50 per barrel below the global crude price — fleet managers can expect accelerated decreases at the pump over the next couple of days, says WEX.
In addition, the continuous decline of ethanol costs — which can make up 10% of the gasoline blend — contributes to the lower fuel prices.
Currently, 10% of the nation’s stations report prices under $3 per gallon, compared to just 1% this time last year — and the percentage is projected to grow larger through December, says WEX. The region least likely to see these low prices will be the Eastern Seaboard, primarily the Northeast. However, the Rocky Mountains and the northern Midwest can expect the biggest drop.
Meanwhile, diesel is expected to move higher toward $4 per gallon between now and the new year. The colder months drive up the prices because diesel fuel is being used for heating, says WEX.