Gas prices drop to 12-year low for July

(July 19, 2016) The national average for regular, unleaded gasoline has fallen for 35 out of 36 days to $2.21 per gallon and sits at the lowest mark for this time of year since 2004, according to AAA's weekly report. Gas prices continue to drop in most parts of the country due to abundant fuel supplies and declining crude oil costs.

Average prices are about 55 cents less than a year ago, which is motivating millions of Americans to take advantage of cheap gas by taking long road trips this summer.

The best news for consumers is that gas prices have once again dropped below $2 per gallon in many parts of the country, which is something that drivers have not seen during the summer in more than a decade. About 1 in 4 U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon today, and consumers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2 per gallon in 36 states.

AAA says gas prices likely will remain relatively low compared to recent years for the remainder of the summer. U.S. crude oil supplies are about 13 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline stocks have increased to 240 million barrels as refineries produce significant quantities of fuel. This is the highest ever mark for gasoline supplies during the month of July, according to Department of Energy records.

Despite paying the lowest seasonal prices in 12 years, there is always the possibility that unexpected events could lead to higher prices later this summer. For example, crude oil costs could rise due to disruptions in supply, stronger than expected economic growth or geopolitical tensions overseas. In addition, regional prices could increase due to refinery problems, production cuts, stronger than anticipated demand or hurricanes that impact distribution and production.

Quick Stats

    • The national average price of gas is down a fraction of a cent for the day, three cents for the week, 13 cents for the month and 55 cents compared to a year ago.

    • Average gas prices are below $2 per gallon in seven states today including: South Carolina ($1.88), Mississippi ($1.97), Oklahoma ($1.97), Tennessee ($1.97), Alabama ($1.97), Arkansas ($1.98) and Missouri ($1.996).

    • The West Coast continues to be the most expensive market for gasoline, including the only six states in the nation where drivers are paying more than $2.50 on average: California ($2.85), Hawaii ($2.82), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.65), Nevada ($2.55) and Oregon ($2.53).

    • Only 12 percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $2.50 per gallon today.