As drivers hit the road for the New Year’s holiday, they will be paying some of the cheapest gas prices in several years.
According to AAA, the national average gas price is $2 a gallon and is about the same in Florida at $2.01 a gallon.
When the new year begins, gas prices are expected to fall to their lowest levels since 2009 and to be about 30 to 40 cents cheaper than last year.
The decline in prices is due to multiple factors, including a national and international oversupply of oil. In 2008 and 2009, when gas prices also fell significantly, the recession and the national housing crisis were the prime issues.
“This time it’s because of the large supply of oil, both nationally and internationally,” said Josh Carrasco, spokesman for AAA. “It’s more of a positive reason for the change as opposed to 2009.”
In Miami specifically, gas prices sit at an average of $2.12 per gallon, and the cheapest price in the area is $1.89 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. Prices in South Florida can fluctuate based on neighborhoods and gas station owners attempting to cover operating costs but are still primarily based on national trends.
$2.12 Average gas price in Miami area
$1.89 Lowest gas price in Miami area
$3.79 Highest gas price in Miami area
Jeff Pelton, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said that the influx of Iranian oil and the continued oil production in the U.S., primarily from North Dakota, will keep prices low for much of 2016.
“In talking to some analysts we still feel it could dip as low as $1.79 [per gallon],” Pelton said.
The low prices are expected to continue into February. Carrasco said that in the spring months, gas prices will likely begin to rise again.
“Refineries start to do some seasonal maintenance and that causes prices to spike,” Carrasco said.
Until then, Carrasco said drivers can continue to enjoy saving anywhere from about $5 to $10 when they fill up. He said that while the difference between paying a price like $2.01 and $1.98 per gallon may not seem like much, it can make the difference for those who are still spending for the holidays.
“I think these lower prices cause people to travel, and they realize they have a little more in their pocket to do things like go out to dinner or do some shopping,” Carrasco said.
It’s amazing that the difference between $2 and $1.99 is so ‘Wow!’ but it’s because we haven’t seen that in such a long time.
Jeff Pelton, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com
Pelton estimates that drivers saved anywhere from $600 to $800 this year at the pump and agrees that there’s something psychological for drivers when they see even a slight dip in prices.
“It’s amazing that the difference between $2 and $1.99 is so ‘Wow!’ but it’s because we haven’t seen that in such a long time,” Pelton said.
Gas prices across the country, on average, range from $1.56 per gallon to $3.25 per gallon, according to AAA. Gasbuddy.com estimates that drivers in the Miami metropolitan area have the 103rd most expensive gas prices out of about 450 metropolitan markets.