The national average gas price has dropped below $2 a gallon for the first time since March 25, 2009, during the height of the Great Recession. Ohio’s average gas price has been below this threshold since Nov. 17, 2015.
AAA estimates that these cheaper gas prices have saved Americans more than $100 billion on gasoline so far this year, compared to 2014, which equates to nearly $550 per licensed driver.
Lower prices have also led to more driving. Americans are on track this year to drive a record number of miles, based on early estimates by the Federal Highway Administration. Through September, which is the most recent data available, Americans have driven 2.4 trillion miles for the year, which is a 3.5 percent increase over 2014.
Gas prices have dropped because there is more than enough oil and gasoline supplies around the world to meet current demand. In addition, gas prices generally fall through early winter because people drive less this time of year. It is likely that prices will continue to decline in the coming weeks.
Based on normal seasonal trends, gas prices will likely rise in late winter and early spring as refineries conduct maintenance in advance of the busy summer driving season. Despite this, gas prices should remain relatively low during 2016 due to abundant petroleum supplies.
Domestic supplies of commercial crude oil are about 29 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Energy Information Administration, while oil prices are about $70 per barrel cheaper than in the summer of 2014. Oil is the primary cost associated with making gasoline, and every $10 decline in the cost of oil can reduce gas prices by nearly 25 cents per gallon.
Gas Price History:
The national average gas price last fell below $2 a gallon for a brief span between November 2008 and March 2009, during the Great Recession, as weak global demand and a significant decline in driving helped push prices downward. Ohio’s average price also fell during that time to a low of $1.566 on Dec. 11, 2008.
Prior to that four-month period, the national average was last below $2 a gallon in early March 2005, and the Ohio average dipped below $2 for one day, May 31, 2005, before rising above that threshold and remaining there until Nov. 10, 2008.
The highest national average ever recorded was $4.11 per gallon on July 17, 2008. The highest Ohio average gas price on record was $4.16 on May 4, 2011.