If you were travelling this Labor Day weekend, you may have noticed less of a sting in your wallet when you filled up your gas tank.
According to AAA, American drivers enjoyed their lowest gas prices in over 10 years. The national average for the price of gas was $2.44 a gallon ahead of Labor Day weekend, the lowest prices for the holiday since 2004.
AAA estimates the lower gas prices saved U.S. consumers over $1 billion in gas costs over the holiday weekend, compared to last year.
And prices are still going in the right direction for consumers.
As of Tuesday, AAA Northeast says the average cost of a gallon of gasoline is down seven cents this week to $2.27. AAA Northeast also says Massachusetts consumers have a price range of 83 cents, from a low of $2.06 a gallon to a high of $2.89 a gallon.
Mary Maguire, director of public and legislative affairs for AAA Northeast, explained that an abundant oil supply mixed with economic uncertainty in China is helping keep gas prices low. With a range of 83 cents in Massachusetts, she encourages consumers to shop for the best possible gas price.
“Knowledge is power at the pump,’’ said Maguire. “Consumers need to be looking at those prices and giving their businesses to [retailers] with prices in the twenties and teens.’’
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Reductions in crude oil costs and a greater supply of petroleum have helped keep gas prices low. AAA says gas prices have dropped significantly since hitting a peak of $2.80 in June 2015.
But the news gets better. AAA also predicts gas prices could fall below $2 a gallon in some parts of the country by the winter holidays.
“There is good reason to believe that cheaper oils costs, a seasonal decline in driving and the switchover to less costly winter-blend gasoline will continue to push down prices through the end of the year,’’ said AAA spokesman Avery Ash in a statement.
AAA points out some parts of the country start using a cheaper, winter-blend gasoline beginning September 16. The Environmental Protection Agency requires parts of the country to use a summer-blend gasoline during the warm weather months in an effort to improve air quality. Once the weather begins to cool off, the fuel becomes unnecessary.
Gas prices typically get cheaper after the Labor Day weekend, which is seen as the end of the summer driving season. As the seasons shift to fall and winter, gas prices fall even further when there are fewer drivers on the road.
GasBuddy.com, a crowdsourcing site that tracks gasoline prices, agrees with AAA’s assessment that the prices could fall below $2 by Christmas, possibly even earlier.
But even if gas prices do fall below $2 later this year, GasBuddy Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan does not expect them to stay there for very long.
“The national average could remain under $2 for a month or two, maybe three if we’re lucky,’’ DeHaan said. “It will be cheapest from December to early February, then start rising again ahead of the upcoming summer.’’