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Texas gas prices dropping along with the price of oil

Gas prices in Texas dropped four cents to $1.72 a gallon, which is 16 cents cheaper than a year ago.
Gas prices in Texas dropped four cents to $1.72 a gallon, which is 16 cents cheaper than a year ago. AP archive

Prices at the pump dipped even lower this week with the statewide average dropping 4 cents to $1.72 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.

Drivers in Beaumont and Corpus Christi were paying the least at $1.65 per gallon while motorists in Dallas and El Paso were digging the deepest and shelling out $1.76, according to the AAA Texas Fuel Gauge report released Thursday. Fort Worth motorists were paying $1.73, the agency said.

The statewide average was 16 cents below what motorists paid at the same time last year.

But it’s not hard to find gas selling for almost 30 cents below the statewide average in the Fort Worth-Arlington area. Six of the 15 area gas stations reporting the lowest prices were selling gasoline for $1.45 a gallon Thursday, according to fortworthgasprices.com

“It is quite cheap. As oil prices have fallen, it has gotten better and better,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst in Chicago for GasBuddy.com, which reported that the Fort Worth/Arlington average price was $1.70 Thursday afternoon.

Texas drivers are now paying about $24 to fill up the average 14-gallon size fuel tank, which is about $2 less than last year.

Doug Shupe, a spokesman with AAA Texas/New Mexico

Low prices are widespread, with 99.2 percent of gas stations in Texas selling gas for under $2 a gallon and 67.8 percent for under $1.75, DeHaan said. In another reflection of how things have changed, a week ago just 48.5 percent of the stations were under $1.75, he said.

And it almost goes without saying that all of these prices were well below the national average of $1.94, which is 6 cents lower than what was reported the previous week, AAA reported.

“Texas drivers are now paying about $24 to fill up the average 14-gallon size fuel tank, which is about $2 less than last year,” said Doug Shupe, a spokesman for AAA Texas/New Mexico.

The record high price for gasoline in Texas during the second week of January came in 2008, when gas averaged $3.98 a gallon, AAA reported.

What’s fueling the decline in gas prices is the plummeting price of oil, which briefly fell below $30 a barrel for the first time since 2003 earlier this week. On Thursday, oil had a slight rebound, going up 72 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at $31.20 a barrel in New York.

Prices have been dropping because of a glut of oil on the market, a slowdown in China’s economy that results in lower demand and OPEC’s unwillingness to cut production levels, DeHaan said.

GasBuddy is predicting nationwide gas prices will average $2.28 for the year, well under the 2015 average of $2.40.

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

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