Your Early Holiday Present: Gas at $3 a Gallon or Less

Your Early Holiday Present: Gas at $3 a Gallon or Less Photo (cc) by JeepersMedia

Filling up your vehicle with gasoline won’t leave your pocketbook quite as empty these days.

The price for regular gas has dropped to or below $3 a gallon at two-thirds of gas stations across the U.S., CNN Money says.

According to AAA, Monday’s national average price of $3.04 a gallon for regular was the lowest it’s been since December 2010. Wednesday’s average was $3.02, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

CNN Money added:

In fact, most drivers are actually paying less than $3, despite what the AAA numbers suggest. That’s because places with high-priced gas like Hawaii, Alaska and cities like San Francisco and New York are distorting the national average.

Gas prices traditionally drop in autumn, but not by this much. And experts predict the price will fall even more. So, why the big decline in prices at the pump?

According to The Huffington Post, one reason is that “investors fear that a global economic slowdown could weaken demand.” Another factor: The U.S. is contributing more crude oil to the global oil supply.

If you need to fill your tank with premium gasoline, the cost savings aren’t as dramatic as you’ll experience with regular unleaded. Wednesday’s national average for premium was $3.41, compared with $3.63 a year ago, AAA said.

The price gap between regular and premium recently hit its biggest divide since 2008. Bloomberg said:

The gap between premium and regular swelled to 40 cents a gallon last week, according to Heathrow, Fla.-based motoring club AAA. The difference was as small as 13 cents in January 2009.

That is partly a result of drilling at U.S. shale formations. The shale oil produced is more easily converted into low-octane gas.

“Companies using new drilling technologies to reach shale oil deposits boosted U.S. production by 66 percent in the past five years, helping create a supply glut that’s driven crude down 23 percent in the past four months,” Bloomberg said.

I was elated when I pulled up to the gas station on Tuesday to discover that I could fill my vehicle with super unleaded for $3.35 a gallon. (Note: If your owner’s manual doesn’t require premium gas, you’re likely wasting money by buying it. See this explanation from Edmunds.com.)

How much is gas where you live? How are you using the money you’re saving? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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