Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Gas prices are plummeting

September 11, 2015

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If you’ve filled up your car lately, you’ve probably noticed that gasoline prices have fallen significantly. Now, the American Automobile Association says they’re about to plummet.

AAA says the national price for a gallon of unleaded gas was $2.38 this week. That’s down more than a dollar from the $3.43 per gallon that motorists paid at this time last year.

The national average for a gallon of gasoline has dropped every day for more than three weeks.

Says AAA,

Prices are expected to continue to slide as driving demand experiences a seasonal decrease heading into the fall, provided the price of crude remains relatively low and refineries are able to conduct routine maintenance without issues. According to the U.S Energy Information Administration, refineries reported higher than normal utilization rates and more maintenance is scheduled for this year compared to previous years. This could slow the rate of anticipated declines in the price at the pump; however, it is not expected to cause a reversal of direction.

According to AAA, unleaded gas has already fallen below $2 a gallon in South Carolina, which has the nation’s lowest gas prices.

The highest retail averages are found in states west of the Rockies, especially Alaska, where the $3.35 average is the highest in the country. Gas is still above $3 a gallon in four other states: California ($3.26), Nevada ($3.10), Hawaii ($3.03), and Washington ($2.88).

Fall is a relatively slow vacation season, save for states with fall color and the Columbus Day and Veterans’ Day weekends. Vacation traffic won’t really pick up again until the week before Thanksgiving. The lack of demand will help keep prices low.

For story ideas, check the price of gas in your city. There’s a direct link between gas prices and auto sales, so see how area dealers are doing selling big vehicles as well as fuel efficient ones. Keep an eye on refineries in your area for their output.

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