AAA: Lower Gas Prices Expected To Continue Into 2016

Jan 4, 2016

Credit Photo via Flickr// Mike Mozart / https://flic.kr/p/oL8CZc

AAA South says the national average price of gas could remain relatively flat, or drop another 10 cents per gallon over the next few weeks.

Florida’s average for self-serve regular is below the $2.00 per gallon mark for the first time since March of 2009. Mark Jenkins at the auto club says the projection is between $2.25 and $2.45, comparable to the $2.40 a gallon average for all of 2014.

“Of course, anything can change, if the price of oil suddenly shoots up,” said Mark Jenkins at AAA South in Tampa. “What we’re anticipating is another year of an over-supply of oil, which could help keep the price to produce gasoline that much lower.”

Locally, prices for self-serve regular average right at $2.00 a gallon, $0.20 cents less than a year ago. February is the month when refineries begin making the so-called “designer fuels,” which are used in cities and other areas with high levels of ozone during the summer. And as with other items, how much that tankful costs depends on where you pump it.

“Prices always vary from region to region, depending on supply issues [and] competition,” Jenkins said. “If there’s a refinery shortage or outage that causes a supply shortage, then that could cause gas prices to be somewhat volatile in those areas.”

The average driver, according to AAA, saved about $550 at the pump last year, compared to 2014. Prices for diesel fuel dropped last year to their lowest average since 2009, at $2.71 per gallon. That was down from $3.81 the previous year. Jenkins says that can be felt by consumers in other areas.

“Grocery stores can sometimes pass along their savings to consumers; oftentimes, we see the other way, too, where their profit margins just increase,” Jenkins said. “Essentially, they’re pocketing the money that they’re saving on transportation prices.

Low gas prices could limit oil production in the United States and other high-cost production nations, according to some analysts. That, in turn, could allow a re-balance of supply and demand by the end of 2016. Political events and conflicts also could disrupt production. Either could lead to higher than expected prices at the pump.