This fall, the national gas price average could drop to $2.40 per gallon or lower, according to one prediction.
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The American Automobile Association (AAA) said Thursday that it expects motorists could save up to 25 cents per gallon more than they were this summer. Currently, gas prices nationally are already 15 cents cheaper than 5 weeks ago, on average.
“AAA predicts that fall gasoline prices will be significantly less expensive than this summer with motorists finding savings in every market across the country,” Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson, said in a statement.
“Many factors are driving this decrease, but the low price of crude oil is chief among them,” Casselano added.
Other factors in the expected price decrease are a drop-off in gas demand after Labor Day as well as the move to winter-blend gas, according to AAA.
Crude oil prices are expected to range between $50 and $60 a barrel in the upcoming season, in part because domestic crude inventories are 31.5 million barrels higher than last year, AAA said. Last fall, crude oil cost between $60 and $75.
However, low gas prices are no guarantee. Like every year, hurricane season could cause gas prices to go right back up.
“The mere threat of a hurricane making landfall can shutter domestic crude production, leading to spikes in crude and gasoline prices,” AAA said. “In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused the national gas price average to jump 30-cents in a matter of days.”
In this May 25, 2018, file photo, prices for the three grades of gasoline light up the pump at a Shell station in southeast Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File / Associated Press)
As far as specific regions, AAA expects the West Coast will see a drop in gas prices in the coming months, while prices in the South and Southeast could see prices lower than $2 per gallon by the end of the year --- as long as there isn’t a major hurricane.
In the Rockies, motorists should expect steady gas prices, while people in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast could see prices fall, barring any supply disruptions in the region that would cause a spike.
According to AAA, the Great Lakes and Central States typically have volatile gas prices. The association expects the region should see cheaper prices, but there may be sudden increases.