Motorists, particularly those in metro Albany, are seeing a late-summer price break at the pump thta experts say is unusual. (File photo)
ALBANY — Metro Albany continued Monday to lead the state’s metro areas with the lowest retail gas prices as the cost of filling continued its late summer decline.
Monday morning, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average cost of a gallon of regular-grade gas in the Albany metro area was $3.146, nearly 9 cents below the next lowest Georgia metro area, Columbus, which was at $3.232.
Meanwhile, state and national averages also continued to dip. AAA had the national average at $3.478, slightly more than GasBuddy.com’s survey, which had it at an even $3.47. That was a 2.2-cent drop from last week, according to AAA, and a 1.9-cent decline, according to GasBuddy.
In Georgia, AAA had Monday’s average at $3.353, down 3.9 cents from last week’s $3.392. GasBuddy had Georgia at $3.345 Monday from last week’s $3.345, also a decline of 3.9 cents.
“Prices are falling at about a half cent a day and aren’t showing signs of slowing down,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA — The Auto Club Group. “It’s unusual to see prices steadily decline in the late summer months, but increases in domestic oil supply are helping to offset fluctuations in demand during the busy summer travel season.”
GasBuddy’s expert said that travelers who bet on cheaper fuel near the end of the vacation season were winners.
“Motorists taking those late summer vacations continue to see their risk paying rewards: gasoline prices continue to hold near the lowest levels of the summer,” GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said. “It’s relatively rare to see prices holding lower in the mid-to-late summer, as hurricanes tend to weigh on prices and demand for gasoline is highest during the second half of the summer.
“However, oil prices rallied in mid-June, altering the behavior of gasoline prices, and after the situation in Iraq cooled, it let to a widespread sell-off in commodities that led to cheaper oil prices and refineries passed the savings onto motorists. Prices today versus last year are lower in many communities across the country. Meanwhile, the Great Lakes has seen its low prices thrust higher after several refinery issues and planned maintenance culminated at the same time, leading to a drop in available supply, leading to higher prices. The best news is that as the driving season concludes, prices are likely to drop- most significantly in late September through the holidays.”
Tropical weather has been a non-factor so far, with only two named storms in the Atlantic. Bother steered up the East Coast, far away from the oil-producing Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, the National Hurricane Center noted a disturbance off the west coast of Africa, saying that it had no chance of becoming a hurricane over the next two days.
The national average Monday was down by 7.6 cents (AAA survey) to 8.4 cents (GasBuddy) a gallon from the same point in 2013. In Georgia, the year-to-year average price is 10.2 cents (AAA) to 11.2 cents (GasBuddy) cheaper now.
Albany, meanwhile, dropped 5.3 cents from last week and had shed 19.6 cents a gallon in the past month. Last year, a gallon was selling at $3.298, 15.2 cents more than motorists were paying Monday when some stations were selling as cheap as $3.069 without use of a loyalty card or requiring a membership.