Within weeks, the national price of a gallon of gasoline will fall below $2 for the first time since 2009, AAA predicts.
Barack Obama’s first term as president was in its infancy the last time gasoline prices were under $2, Balloon Boy had captured the attention of the nation and Michael Jackson was alive.
It was also the year in which the term “staycation” was added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
“This is great news for drivers,” AAA spokesman Michael Green said Tuesday. “The $2 gas mark is a psychological threshold. Nothing special happens, but it makes people more confident in the economy and more confident in their spending decisions.”
Gasoline prices are plunging across the country, with the national average falling 24 times in the past 30 days, AAA reports. The price of a gallon of regular stands at $2.04 nationally, down 14 cents compared with one month ago and 74 cents compared with this time last year.
The national average dropped near the $2 mark in early 2015 but never fell below it. But AAA anticipates the price will fall to $1.99 or lower within weeks.
Valley prices remain a bit higher. The best Valley price Tuesday was $2.18 a gallon for unleaded regular at I-Fuel on Route 15 in Lewisburg, according to the online gasoline price site GasBuddy. In Danville, the best price was $2.21 at Penn Jersey on Northumberland Street. The average price in Sunbury on Tuesday was $2.23.
“Gas prices are dropping more slowly than the second half of November,” Green said. “It’s tough to say exactly when, but all indications show that it will drop.”
Many gasoline stations outside of Pennsylvania are already well below the $2 mark.
“Nearly two-thirds of the nation’s 130,000 gas stations now are selling that gasoline for under $2 a gallon, a remarkable change from a year ago, when 0 percent of stations were under $2,” GasBuddy reports.
Motorists in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio are paying the nation’s lowest prices, with averages of about $1.80 to $1.82 per gallon. At the same time, gasoline stations in pricier states are keeping the average above $2 for the time being.
“This puts more and more money in the pockets of drivers and more freedom to travel than in the past,” Green said. “Chances are 2015 will be the busiest year for driving in years due to lower gas prices and a stronger economy.”
It also means more money for gifts, he said.
In some cases, the price of a gallon of regular is less than $1.50. Several stations in Texas are posting prices of $1.40 to $1.45 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.
CNN reported Monday that the nation’s least expensive gasoline was being sold at a Sam’s Club station in Lafayette, Ind., where a gallon of regular cost $1.39.
Earlier forecasts have called for fuel costs to keep dropping at least through Dec. 31. A 24/7 Wall St. story last week reported that a range of factors, including increased oil refinery output, low gasoline taxes and less expensive oil prices due to a global surplus “could drive the price toward $1 in some states.”
This article was written by Justin Strawser from The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.