‘Dramatic drops’ in gas prices: Less-than-$2 gas is here for many American motorists

Nearly one in five U.S. Fuel stations are charging less than $2 per gallon of gasoline as falling oil prices deliver holiday savings for American motorists.

“We’ve seen dramatic drops toward the end of the year,” says Jeanette Casselano, spokeswoman for AAA.

As many as eight states could have an average price of less than $2 by the end of the week, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for fuel-finding app GasBuddy.

Missouri’s already there with an average of $1.96 on Tuesday, according to AAA. Others within cents of the two-buck threshold: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina.

As of late Monday morning, 31 states had at least one station with fuel for less than $2, according to GasBuddy. One station in Texas was charging $1.65 – the lowest in the country.

Nationally, the average was $2.37 on Tuesday – 4 cents cheaper than a week ago, 26 cents cheaper than a month ago and 5 cents cheaper than a year ago, according to AAA.

More than half of the stations in the country were below $2.25 as of Monday, according to the Oil Price Information Service.

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It’s “quite the turnaround” from early October, when gas briefly topped $2.90 per gallon nationwide, DeHaan said. Americans are saving about $225 million daily on gas as a result of the decline since then, he said.

About 1 in 10 stations are still charging over $3 per gallon, according to OPIS. Many of those are in California, where the national average was $3.40 on Tuesday, according to AAA.

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The highest-ever national average was $4.11 on July 17, 2008, according to AAA.

A sharp decline in oil prices over the last few months has sparked the decline in gas prices. Oil is refined into gasoline for use in vehicles.

The U.S. Price of oil has fallen by more than a third since early October and was trading at about $47 per barrel on Tuesday afternoon.

OPIS analyst Tom Kloza noted that the declines have been especially sharp since some analysts were recently projecting increases to $100 per barrel. That hasn’t played out.

Consistently high oil production globally, including in the U.S., Has contributed to the decline in prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently agreed to a production cut aimed at bolstering prices. But concerns about the global economy’s effect on oil demand have also contributed to declining prices.

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Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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