Gasoline prices continue to tumble, with the average price in the Oklahoma City area quickly approaching $3 a gallon.
While the citywide average settled at just more than $3.04 per gallon Thursday, local stores were selling for as little as $2.74, according to GasBuddy.com.
The citywide price has dropped 20 cents over the past month and 50 cents from Sept. 5.
All indications are that price likely will continue falling for at least the next month or two.
“We would expect to see incremental declines, with the national average coming down 10 to 15 cents a gallon,” GasBuddy analyst Gregg Laskoskisaid Thursday. “As that takes place, we will see the Oklahoma state average fall below $3 a gallon.”
Much of the reason for the ongoing declines is because of the seasonal changes.
Prices typically fall this time of year, both because of driving declines and because the country's refineries have switched to the less-expensive winter-blend fuels.
Prices tend to increase in the spring as driving picks up and as refiners switch to more expensive, cleaner-burning summer-blend fuels.
But besides seasonal cycles, the current price drop also has to do with global and industry changes.
The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil priced in Cushing has tumbled more than 12 percent over the past seven weeks, closing at $96.87 a barrel Thursday, down $1.45 on the day and down from a 52-week high of $110.54 set on Sept. 6.
“We're seeing lower crude oil prices because of the supply and demand fundamentals we have in the United States and also because the tension in the Middle East seems to have eased,” Laskoski said.
The price drops are good news for consumers, Laskoski said they are unlikely to change driving or buying habits.
“Consumers recognize that these trends are seasonal and that as encouraging as it seems now, we know that prices will climb again in early spring,” he said. “We have to enjoy what we have when we have it because we know what's around the corner.”