Fall brings dropping gas prices to the Mountain West
It’s the news most drivers love to hear: Gas prices are starting to drop.
The American Automobile Association reports that the national average price has dipped 9 cents over the last week to $3.79 a gallon. Even though demand is up slightly, it is lower than it was this time last year, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Nevada saw the largest decrease among states in the Mountain West over the last week, with prices dropping 20 cents — yet it still has the highest price in the region at $5.06 a gallon. On the other hand, Colorado has the lowest price in the region at $3.60 a gallon, according to state data from AAA.
Patrick De Haan is an oil analyst for GasBuddy. He predicts that most states in the Mountain West will see a price drop of 10 to 20 cents by early November. He also predicts that other areas of the country — like California and the Great Lakes—could see drops between 30 and 75 cents. That’s because these areas saw the highest spikes earlier this year when oil refineries serving them experienced supply shortages.
There’s a theory that gas prices always drop before elections. But De Haan said gas prices have historically dropped in the fall since Americans are driving less.
“We're back in our kind of normal behaviors, the kids are back in school and have been,” De Haan said. “Summer vacations are behind us and demand for gasoline tends to ease.”
De Haan is unsure if gas prices will continue to decline further since prices have been volatile this year. AAA believes they will if oil prices and lower consumer demand stay consistent.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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