Kansas now ranks as the state with the fourth lowest average price at the pump ($2.17), with motorists in Missouri ($2.07), Oklahoma ($2.09), Texas ($2.16) paying the least per gallon for retail gasoline. Kansas has not seen a daily state average price this low since May 14, 2009, over five and a half years ago. Motorists in 30 states are now paying below $2.50 per gallon.
Comparatively low prices for retail gasoline are helping consumers across the country to save more than $450 million per day on gasoline compared to the highs earlier this year, which likely is having a positive effect on holiday shopping and travel. Barring any disruptions in domestic production or unexpected spikes in the global price of crude, consumers could see, on average, prices drop another 10-15 cents per gallon to ring in the New Year.
Nationally, the steady decline in gas prices this autumn is now longer than any period AAA has previously tracked. The national average price of gas has declined for 88 days in a row, which is the longest consecutive streak on record. Gas prices have fallen every day since September 25 to today’s national average of $2.39. On Sunday, the decline in gas prices broke the previous record of 86 days set in 2008 during the height of the Great Recession. For Kansas, the streak in falling gas prices has reached 55 days going back to October 29, when the state average was just under $2.99 per gallon.
The best news for consumers is that the decline in the price at the pump has accelerated during the previous week. The current national week-over-week drop of 15 cents is the largest such decline in more than six years, and in Kansas the average price is 20 cents lower than a week ago. Kansas motorists are also paying 54 cents less than one month ago and 83 cents less than one year ago to refuel their vehicles, which mark the largest declines for those spans since 2008 and 2009 respectively. Yes, the Kansas average a year ago today was exactly $3.00 a gallon!
Abundant global supply and sluggish demand growth have helped push the global price of crude down by more than $50 per barrel since June. Although crude oil prices have seen dramatic price swings in recent years, this year’s plummet has been even more extreme and has triggered speculation surrounding the impact of sustained low prices for crude. Tumbling global prices have the potential to impact supply by slowing production in higher cost regions, which includes the United States. Additionally, a number of countries depend on oil income to balance their economies, and sustained low prices could lead to civil unrest as those governments struggle to deal with lower revenue streams. At the close of formal trading on Friday, WTI closed down $2.14 per barrel at $57.81 on the NYMEX, the lowest settlement since May 2009.