Just how low can it go?
Gas prices continued to tumble this week, with drivers in Fort Worth, Arlington and Amarillo dipping into their pockets the least at $1.79 per gallon, according to AAA Texas Fuel Gauge report. The average price in Fort Worth and Arlington has dropped 11 cents in two weeks.
The statewide average for a gallon of unleaded gas is $1.87, 8 cents lower than last week — and $1.24 less than what motorists were paying a year ago, the travel and insurance agency reported. Drivers in Texas also pay 21 cents less than the national average of $2.08.
“Currently, Texas has one of the top 10 least expensive statewide gas price averages in the country,” said Doug Shupe, a spokesman for AAA Texas and New Mexico. “It now costs about $26 to fill up a typical 14-gallon size fuel tank, which is about $17 less than this time last year.”
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Drivers in Corpus Christi were paying the most at an average price of $1.95.
Gas prices keep falling as the price of a barrel of oil continues to decline. It dropped below $50 a barrel last week for the first time since 2009 and has fluctuated since then. It closed at $48.48 on the market Wednesday, a gain of $2.59, but fell back Thursday, closing at $46.25 a barrel. In June, oil peaked at more than $107 a barrel.
Since the first week of December, gas prices in Fort Worth and Arlington have dropped 66 cents a gallon, according to AAA Texas. The statewide average has dropped 42 cents.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Administration said it expects the retail price for regular gasoline, which averaged $3.36 a gallon in 2014, to average $2.33 a gallon in 2015. The average household is expected to spend about $750 less for gasoline in 2015 compared with last year, the agency said.
The agency projected that the regular gasoline retail price will average $2.72 a gallon in 2016.
Economists and oil industry analysts are predicting that 2015 will be a tough year in the oil fields, because a glut of oil on the market is keeping prices down. And domestic production is not expected to drop in the first six months, contributing even more oil to the oversupply.
“One of the last dominoes to fall will be the actual amount of crude” being pumped, said Karr Ingham, an economist for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers who is based in Amarillo. “Production won’t begin to decline until well into the second half of 2015, enough to have some effect on price.
“It is going to be a while. The cycle will be 18 months to two years to play out,” he said.
Max B. Baker, 817-390-7714