For the first time since the start of the year, motorists are paying less for a gallon of gas than they did in 2011. The national average has steadily decreased since April 17, when the average for a gallon of regular retail gasoline was $3.90. It wasn't until Tuesday, April 24 that the this year's average price for gasoline fell below last year's level. So far this year, the peak price for a gallon of gas is $3.93 nationwide on April 5. However, the price of a barrel of oil has yet to fall below $100 and continues to fluctuate between $102 and $105 a barrel. The price of a barrel of oil closed Friday at $104.93—$1.05 more than the week prior.
Decreased global demand for fuel is one of the main factors causing retail gas prices to retreat. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted U.S. gasoline demand is down 4.2 percent from this time last year. In addition, China, the world's second largest oil-consuming country, has seen its demand numbers drop to the lowest level since October. Europe is no different, as the debt crisis has caused fuel demand to steadily decrease since last year.
"Since the start of the year, 2012 broke daily, weekly, and monthly records for the highest price averages at the pump, but now the tables have turned and prices are below last year's level," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. "This is welcomed news to motorists who heard rumors of $5 to $8 a gallon gasoline by summertime. While there's always the possibility prices will climb back up, in the short term, gas prices are expected to decrease further as we enter May. If gas prices do continue to fall throughout the month of May, we could definitely see an increase in the number of Americans traveling for the Memorial Day holiday weekend."
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.81, a 5-cent decrease from last week. Florida’s average of $3.80 and Georgia's average of $3.68 both fell 8 cents from last week. Tennessee’s average price of $3.65 dropped 7 cents from last week, respectively. Here in the 'Boro the discounters are not off when to compared to the state. In fact, they're the same--$3.65 for some discounters locally. Watch closely, because once they discover they're no bargain--prices will drop.