Gas prices are at nearly five-year lows as 2008 closes out, with further decreases likely, according to the automotive club AAA.
The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore., reported that nationally, the average price for a gallon of regular was $1.62 on Tuesday (Dec. 30), 4 cents lower than a week ago. It’s the lowest national average since January 2004, AAA said.
“AAA remains reasonably confident that retail gas prices will continue to move somewhat lower in the coming weeks because the troubled global economy has significantly reduced demand,” Oregon AAA spokeswoman Marie Dodds said. “January and February are traditionally the slowest period of the year for fuel consumption, and we could see a national average perhaps as low as $1.50 a gallon between now and the end of February.”
She added a caveat: Oil and gas prices may rise slightly in the short term with OPEC pledging to cut production next month and the possibility of the dollar weakening against other currencies. But, even amid concerns about Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip, oil prices climbed only slightly higher on Monday. Tuesday, oil prices fell again in the face of growing oil inventories.
“Crude oil prices will show a loss of about 60% for the year, the largest decline since futures began trading 25 years ago,” Dodds said. “Crude started 2008 at about $100 per barrel, then hit a record high of $147 per barrel on July 11. It has fallen more than $100 since then.”