Motorists filling up are getting a different kind of holiday cheer as the average price of gasoline has dropped to its lowest level in more than five years.
The average for regular unleaded gasoline in Texas is $2.26 per gallon, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch released Thursday. That’s 14 cents less than a week ago and 78 cents lower than a year ago.
Motorists in Fort Worth and Arlington are paying an average of $2.15, a 17-cent decline from last week, AAA said. Among Texas’ major metropolitan areas, drivers were paying the least in Amarillo, at $2.10, and the most in Corpus Christi, at $2.34, the travel agency reported.
The national average was $2.48.
But a number of stations in Tarrant County were easily beating the AAA averages Thursday. At least 14 stations were selling gas well below $2 — two as low as $1.75, according to FortWorthGasPrices.com. The average area price was $2.13, the website said.
The QuikTrip on South Main Street in Keller was one of the stations at $1.75. Gas started the day at $1.85, and then the corporate officer called to drop the price again at about 2 p.m., assistant manager Christina Pool said.
“They are lining up — doing a few dollars here and there,” Pool said.
At 26, Pool fondly remembers that her first gallon of gas cost $1.50. Will it get that low again? “I hope so,” she said.
The drop in gas prices is being attributed to falling oil prices and a five-year low in demand for oil. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last month declined to drop its output to boost the price per barrel. The price of West Texas intermediate crude closed at $54.11 on Thursday.
“Sluggish global oil demand combined with abundant supply in the market continues to be the reasons why we’ve seen prices move lower week after week,” Doug Shupe, AAA Texas/New Mexico spokesman, said in a statement. “For the millions of Texans expected to drive to holiday destinations next week, these lower gas prices will leave them with more money to spend on travel, shopping and recreation during the holiday season.”
AAA Texas estimates that 8.1 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday period, which starts Tuesday and runs through Jan. 4. Of those traveling, 7.5 million will do so in a vehicle, the agency said.
The national AAA reported that drivers are saving more than $400 million a day compared with the same period last year.
Barring a jump in global prices, or decline in domestic production because of an event at a refinery, the agency expects the pump price to remain relatively low into 2015.
Max B. Baker, 817-390-7714