Gasoline prices in Letcher County fell well below the state and national averages to $3.29 a gallon on Tuesday and are expected to fall even more in the next few weeks.
Statewide, average retail gas prices in Kentucky have fallen 6.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.51 a gallon on Monday. This compares with the national average that fell 3.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.65 a gallon, according to gasoline price website KentuckyGasPrices.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Kentucky during the past week, prices Monday were 17.6 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 21.7 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 15.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 13.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.
“Summer driving season has officially begun with the national average falling far lower than we expected it earlier this year,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “The national average has dropped to a surprising $3.65 a gallon mark as of Monday. Had you asked me back in January if the national average would have been that low on Memorial Day, I would likely have chuckled, but it goes to show anything is possible,” DeHaan said.
GasBuddy forecast back in January that the national average would peak between $3.75 and $4.15 a gallon. The national average peaked at $3.92 a gallon on April 5, far sooner than many analysts, including DeHaan, expected it to occur.
The highest average gas price reached in the United States was $4.12 a gallon during the second week of July 2008, during the Bush administration.
Gasbuddy.com cofounder Jason Toews expects the average price to continue falling by as much as 10 cents a gallon in June before possibly rising again in July or August.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, warned that a “couple of wild cards” could still cause a price increase.
Among them, Kloza cautioned in The Washington Post, are continuing fears of a recession in Europe, the coming hurricane season, and uncertainly over sanctions against Middle East oil-producer Iran.
While prices are still high enough to cause economic discomfort to many, Kloza pointed out why most people are happy gas prices haven’t risen as high as many expected.
“You’re about as miserable as you were last year, but you were prepared to be much more miserable,” Kloza told The Post. “It’s like you’re prepared for a 100-degree day and you got 90 degrees. It’s still uncomfortable; it still crimps consumer spending. But it’s not quite the crisis that some people were calling for.”