Friday, November 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Gas prices: $3 a gallon is back, likely to become more common

The average retail price of a gallon of regular gas had ranges of $3.093 to $3.253 (states in dark green) up to $3.593 to $4.259 (states in dark red). Pennsylvania was in the middle, New Jersey toward the cheaper end, as of Sept. 30, 2013, according to this AAA graphic.
The average retail price of a gallon of regular gas had ranges of $3.093 to $3.253 (states in dark green) up to $3.593 to $4.259 (states in dark red). Pennsylvania was in the middle, New Jersey toward the cheaper end, as of Sept. 30, 2013, according to this AAA graphic.

Three dollars for a gallon of regular?

What might have been unthinkable a month ago is now reality. And likely to become more common by year's end.

This morning, three New Jersey gas stations were charging less than three bucks, while a dozen others were asking for less than a nickel more, according to NewJerseyGasPrices.com.

South Jersey's cheapest gas was $2.99 a gallon at a Gulf station on Burlington-Mount Holly Road in Mount Holly. Down the street, another Gulf was charging $3.03.

In Pennsylvania, where higher gasoline taxes add about 18 cents per gallon, the bargain basement level is about 25 cents higher, with the Philly area's cheapest at a US Gas and a Gulf in Lansdale, according to PhillyGasPrices.com. In the city, the lowest is $3.29, at a Sunoco at 19th and Oregon Avenue in South Philly.

See Philly.com's Gas Price Heat Map to search for gas prices near you.

Prices, which usually fall in the autumn, may slide enough so that Pennsylvania also sees some stations with $3 a gallon.

Southeastern states are already close to averaging $3 a gallon, while New Jersey's average is about $3.30 and Pennsylvania's $3.45, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.

If you're planning a trip down I-95, you might want to fill up in Virginia, where some stations are charging less than $2.90 per gallon.

Nationally, the cost of a gallon of regular fell 19 cents last month, and Monday's national average of $3.40 a gallon was the lowest since late January, according to AAA's Monthly Gas Price Report.

Gas was 31 cents more per gallon a year ago, says AAA.

“Gas prices could drop another 25-30 cents per gallon to the cheapest averages of the year barring significant refinery problems or higher oil costs,” according to AAA spokesman Avery Ash. “Averages in as many as five to ten states could drop below $3.00 per gallon, but there is a floor to how low the national average can go given the very high cost of crude oil.”

Gas prices usually decline after the summer driving season ends, and as stations are permitted to switch over to less expensive winter formulations. A quiet hurricane season has also helped, notes AAA.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

Peter Mucha Philly.com
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