The national average price of regular gasoline has dropped 41 cents since April 2, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s This Week in Petroleum June 20 report.
And prices are continuing to fall.
The average price per gallon as of June 26 was $3.40 – down 10 cents from last week, 24 cents from last month and 17 cents from a year ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
Floridians were paying about 15 cents less than the national average. According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, the average price in the state was $3.25 on June 26, which is nearly 7 cents less than last week, 23 cents less than last month and 29 cents less than a year ago.
The average pump prices for a gallon of regular in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area was $3.18, which was 7 cents under last week’s price, 23 cents less than a month ago and 30 cents less than last year.
"The good news is retail gas prices continue to drop and are forecast to retreat throughout the month," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokesperson, The Auto Club Group.
AAA reported June 19 that motorists in all states within the continental United States were paying less than $4 a gallon of regular gasoline.
Media sources reported June 22 that it was possible for gas prices to drop to $3 a gallon by end of October. EIA officials did not speculate on just how low prices might drop this year. However, in its short-term energy outlook released June 12, officials lowered the price forecast for regular gasoline by 19 cents. The EIA now says the average annual price for 2012 should be $3.56 per gallon, compared to $3.53 in 2011. Current projects for 2013 show the price decrease continuing with an annual average price at $3.51 a gallon.
Everyone points to hurricane season as one variable that could drastically affect prices this summer. The EIA, based on the 2012 hurricane outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ran a simulation that resulted in about a 40 percent chance of outages to offshore oil or natural gas production equal or greater than 2011.
Other factors that could affect future gas prices are global warfare, economic conditions and the upcoming presidential election.
Brady said June 24 that oil prices had dropped below $80 – the first time in almost 10 months.
“At this point, retail gas prices are forecast to continue their decline into the heart of the summer travel season,” Brady said. “Ever if economic stimulus measures are put into place, it’s going to take time for a recovery and demand numbers to rebound. While it’s no good news that has caused gas and oil prices to fall, it does provide relief to motorists who expected to pay $4 or more for a gallon of gas this summer.”
Fourth of July travel projections
AAA says 4.9 percent more Americans will travel for the 2012 Independence Day holiday, which ties the record set in 2007 for the high volume in the past decade.
According to a press release, AAA projects 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the six-day travel period, Tuesday to Sunday, July 3-8. The mid-week holiday date isn’t expected to keep people at home.
AAA projects that 4 percent more will travel by automobile this year, in part due to lower gas prices. About 35.5 million plan to travel by automobile, “setting the high-water mark for the decade,” AAA said.
Air travel is projected to increase by more than 9 percent, as airfares remain the same as last year. AAA says 2012 is the third consecutive year of an increase in Fourth of July air travel.
Hotel rates are higher this year and car rental rates are down, much the same scenario as Memorial Day. Rates at AAA three diamond accommodations are up 4 percent and 9 percent at two diamond hotels.
The economy continues to play a part in holiday travel with average spending projected to go down by 7 percent to $749, as compared to $807 in 2011. Most potential holiday-travelers say they plan to spend time visiting with family and friends and sightseeing as opposed to shopping and entertainment.
Tow to Go
AAA continues to collaborate with Budweiser to provide Tow to Go throughout the states of Florida, Georgia and the western two-third of Tennessee.
From Wednesday, July 4, through Sunday, July 7, motorists who have had too much to drink at bars or restaurants can call 1-800-AAA-HELP for a free tow and ride home. The service is free to AAA members and nonmembers and is 100 percent confidential.
Since its inception in 1988, Tow to Go has safely removed more than 18,000 drunk drivers from roads. In 2011, AAA received 3,000 calls.