States selling gas below $2 amid holiday travel season

The average price of gasoline has fallen below $2 per gallon in nine states, as an oversupplied oil market sends prices downward ahead of the busy holiday travel season.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kansas all had average gas prices below $2 per gallon as of Monday, according to AAA. Iowa had an average price of $2.01. Retail averages have fallen 83 of the past 90 days.

Prices at the pump reached their lowest level in two years earlier this month – $2.37 – and have only continued to fall.

The national average as of Monday was $2.26, down at least 6 cents from one week ago and more than 20 cents lower than one year ago.

AAA estimated that as many as 102 million Americans were expected to hit the roads during the holiday season, encouraged by the prospect of cheaper gas prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is expected to begin output cuts in January to help curb excess supply in the global market – a bid to bolster prices.

“All eyes are on OPEC to kick off the year,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said in a statement. “Many are waiting to see if they stick to their promise to cut crude production by 1.2-million b/d and if the proposed cuts will be enough to restore balance to the market.”

WTI crude prices were trading higher on Monday, at $45.43 per barrel. For the quarter, the benchmark was down nearly 33 percent – its steepest decline since the same quarter in 2014, according to Reuters. For the year, WTI has lost more than 25 percent.