Although summer is usually when gas prices rise, that’s not the case this year. Drivers all over the nation are finding the lowest prices at the pump in over a month. AAA expects that this trend will actually continue.
Gas prices to keep trending downward
AAA’s fuel-price tracker shows an average nationwide gas price of $3.50 per gallon for regular. A week ago, the national average was $3.52 per gallon, and a month ago, it was $3.67 a gallon. Last year the national average gas price was $3.62 per gallon.
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According to AAA, this is the largest decline of the average price of gas in six years, making this year quite unusual. And what’s even more unusual is that the organization found that prices actually dropped on 30 of the 31 days in July. This was the first time prices have declined so consistently during the month of July, which typically sees higher gas prices because of the summer driving season. In fact, gas prices have risen by an average of 16 cents per gallon in July between 2011 and 2013.
Gas prices fall on record refinery production
AAA says the reason gas prices have been falling is because refineries have seen record-high production and plenty of supply. The organization states that in the last four weeks, domestic refineries have processed the highest amount of crude oil ever. The Energy Information Administration reports that the four-week average was 16.5 million barrels a day.
“Falling gas prices are nearly the opposite to what we usually see this time of year,” said AAA spokesman Avery Ash in a statement on the organization’s website. “Refineries are running at full tilt and there is more than enough gasoline in the market, which has helped bring down prices despite multiple overseas conflicts.”
Gas prices started falling in the last few days of July. They’ve been coming down in spite of major conflicts in the Middle East. In addition to rising oil production rates, export levels have remained stable, thus keeping gas prices steady.