WASHINGTON – The pain at the pump is easing this fall. The price of a gallon of regular is continuing to drop, both nationally and locally.
John Townsend, with AAA Mid-Atlantic, says prices in the D.C. area hit their lowest levels of the year this weekend, averaging out at $3.27 for a gallon of regular.
That is just one cent higher than the national average, and Townsend calls the situation “tremendous serendipity in the Washington Metro area.”
The decline began in September, after the busy summer driving period. Townsend says there has been a 31-cent drop in prices across the nation since the first of September, and 11 cents a gallon in October alone. Overall, local gas prices are 27 cents a gallon cheaper than they were this time last year.
There are several reasons for the falling prices, according to AAA. Number one is a decline in the price of crude oil, which is now under $100 a barrel. That is good for consumers because the price of crude comprises about 70 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline.
Also contributing to the low price at the pump is a seasonal drop in demand. Townsend says a third factor is the weather, with a mild hurricane season creating little, if any, disruption in the production and distribution of gasoline.
He says barring an unforeseen crisis, prices should continue to drop for the rest of the year. “We think the prices may be around $3.20 to $3.10 by Christmas Day,” he says.
If that bears out, it will be the least we’ve paid for a gallon of regular gasoline since 2011.