This Thanksgiving just got a whole lot sweeter. Light, sweet crude oil coming from U.S. shale formations has helped push the national average gasoline price to a five-year low for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge.
The national average gas price hit $2.81 per gallon on Monday, reports AAA, the lowest since Thanksgiving 2009 when gas was only $2.63 per gallon. Now 38 states can boast average fuel prices below $3 per gallon.
“Across the country motorists are enjoying low prices due to production exceeding demand and relatively few issues at local refineries,” AAA reports. “Consumers in South Carolina and Missouri are paying the nation’s lowest average price at the pump, $2.57 per gallon, and 38 states are posting averages below the $3.00 per gallon threshold.”
“On the other end of the spectrum, states located on the West Coast and northeast continue to lead the nation registering the nation’s highest averages, led by Hawaii ($3.91), Alaska ($3.54), New York ($3.20) and Connecticut ($3.14),” AAA notes. “For the third week in a row, the average price for retail gasoline is below $4.00 per gallon in every state and Washington, D.C.”
Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C. have seen gas prices fall five cents or more in the last week alone. Seven states have seen gas prices fall ten cents or more over this time period, according to AAA.
“Production continues to outpace demand in the Midcontinent, contributing to additional savings at the pump for states in that region,” AAA says. “The largest discounts are seen in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, where the average price is down by 13 cents per gallon.”
This is definitely a boon to the more than 41 million Americans who will be driving to their Thanksgiving destinations this year, according to AAA. These drivers will be traveling 50 miles or more this week to celebrate and eat turkey with family and friends, which is only made sweeter by low gas prices.
But low gas prices may not be here to stay. OPEC is set to meet with Russia this Thursday while Americans are eating Turkey and watching football. Countries that rely on petroleum exports have been fretting that action needs to be taken to bring oil prices higher.
Oil prices have fallen 30 percent since June, eating into the finances of Russia and OPEC members. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest member, has been under pressure to cut back producn in order to boost oil prices.
“We are going to discuss the market situation and some coordination,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Iran is also scheduled to meet with world leaders to discuss possibly loosening sanctions on their economy, which has hampered their ability to sell oil abroad. Prior to western sanctions, Iran was one of OPEC’s top producer and lifting restrictions could dump more oil onto the world market, driving prices further downward.
“At the close of formal trading on Friday West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil closed 60 cents higher at $76.43 per barrel,” AAA notes. “While oil prices did increase slightly to close out last week, WTI has now settled below $80 for three straight weeks – the longest streak since September 2010.”
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