Growing crude oil and gasoline reserves coupled with a seasonal change at refineries have driven down prices at the pump. Petroleum analysts say they could drop another 15 cents per gallon by the end of the year.
Right now the average price of gas in Wisconsin is $3.23 a gallon and it's going for as low as $3.02 in Kenosha. In 28 other states gas prices have already dipped below the three dollar mark. But Gregg Laskoski, an analyst with Gasbuddy.com , says it's to be expected. “What we see is a widespread decline in retail gasoline,” he said. “I can't say that we're terribly surprised, because consumers should expect to see the lowest prices of the year during the fourth quarter every year.”
Laskoski says that's because refineries are switching to a winter blend of gasoline, which is cheaper and easier to produce and people are driving less. “The other thing that we're seeing is that we've got very favorable fundamentals, good numbers from the Department of Energy showing us that crude oil inventory, gasoline inventory and refinery operations, everything is running pretty smoothly across the country. So that's helping bring the price down.”
That doesn't include the domestic energy boom. Laskoski says increased drilling and the use of hydrofracking in North America means more crude from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. “All of these things are very favorable for consumers and we would not be surprised if prices between Thanksgiving and Christmas move even lower. I think we could see prices come down perhaps another 10 to 15 cents per gallon.”
According to Gasbuddy.com, the price of a barrel of crude oil is now under $100 per barrel for the first time since June.