Marissa Cass needs her car.
The Bucyrus resident commutes daily to her job in Galion along with transporting her three children to the Northmor Schools.
Cass said lower gasoline prices last year definitely helped her family.
“It’s made a big difference,” she said late Monday morning, while refueling her vehicle for $1.84 at the Circle K gasoline station on Harding Way East.
Cass said she now has more money to spend on her kids.
“It helps more at the grocery store,” she said.
Crawford County was among the 17 counties that had the lowest average price for unleaded gasoline, according to GasBuddy, the Internet-based provider of retail fuel pricing information.
Average gasoline prices were $1.89 in Crawford compared with $1.92 in Ohio and $1.99 in the U.S. as of Tuesday morning.
GasBuddy analysts have reported that motorists saved $134 billion at the pump in 2015 compared with 2014. And prices are expected to decline this year.
“We expect the annual average to decline slightly in 2016,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.
Prices are expected to fluctuate throughout the seasons as usual. There is a refinery maintenance period, which usually starts in late February with the bulk of the work concluding in May, causing a drop in the supply of gasoline and therefore an increase in prices.
DeHaan said prices are not likely to increase above $3 a gallon in Ohio this year, but he can’t eliminate it during the maintenance period.
Additionally, the switch to a summer blend for gasoline will start in February, which will also tick up prices by summertime. Prices could be lower in August, DeHaan said, and possibly in the fall depending on how hurricane season goes.
Pump prices will continued to be affected by oil prices, which have declined from above a $100 a barrel of oil since June 2014 because global supply continues to outpace demand.
The price of Brent Crude Oil was $36.50 as of Tuesday.
Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East also have an impact on prices. Saudi Arabia and Iran have recently cut diplomatic ties, which could potentially cause disruption in the Persian Gulf region.
DeHaan, who expects the Iran situation to cool off eventually, said oil prices could dip below $30 a barrel in the next month or two, but will hover between the $25-50 range this year.
Kathy Feltner of Galion, who was also pumping gasoline at Circle K, said low gasoline prices have been helpful, which allows her to buy more goods.
“I just hope they stay down,” she said.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.