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AAA forecasts lower gas prices in 2019

January 8, 2019--7:47 a.m.


Prices at the pump are off to their lowest start to the month of January since 2016. Gas prices in Georgia dropped another 3 cents last week. The state average has now declined a total of 74 cents since October.

Georgia drivers are now paying an average price of $2.06 per gallon - the lowest daily average price since August 2016. Compared to last Memorial Day, when the state average peaked at around $2.84, Georgia drivers are now saving an average of nearly $12 for a 15-gallon tank of gasoline.

In 2018, Georgia gas prices averaged $2.59 per gallon, for regular unleaded. That was 30 cents per gallon more than the year before, and the highest annual average price since 2014. Based on these figures, if a Georgia driver bought a 15-gallon tank of gas - every week in 2018 - they would've spent an average total of $2,020 on gasoline last year. That total cost is $234 more than than what they would've spent on gasoline in 2017.

Tuesday morning, the average gas price in Floyd County was $1.95, according to AAA.

It was also $1.95 in Gordon County, $1.99 in Bartow County, $1.96 in Chattooga County, and $2.09 in Polk County.

The national average price for gasoline is $2.24 per gallon, which is the lowest daily average since July 2017. On average, Americans are paying 67 cents per gallon less than they did three months ago, amounting to a savings of $10 for a full 15-gallon tank of gasoline.

2019 Gasoline Outlook

Overall, AAA expects the national average to stay below last year's high of $2.97, set just before Memorial Day. Government data suggests that fuel prices in 2019 will be lower than last year. The latest Short Term Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration has WTI crude averaging $54 per barrel in 2019. That's $11 per barrel less than last year's average for WTI ($65.23/b). An $11 difference in oil prices suggests a 27.5 cent discount at the pump.

In 2018, U.S. gas prices averaged $2.72 per gallon. AAA expects that average to land somewhere in the $2.50s this year.

"Motorists should expect low gas prices to linger through January, as gasoline demand is typically the lowest of the year," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Although pump prices could become somewhat volatile this month, drivers will notice a significant increase in the spring, with the upward trend beginning as early as February. Putting global supply and demand fluctuations aside, gas prices often rise 30-70 cents in the spring, as gasoline demand increases, refiners conduct seasonal maintenance and begin to switch to a more expensive-to-produce summer-blend gasoline. AAA expects pump prices to peak around $2.75 this year, but there is higher potential if a hurricane threatens gulf coast refineries, or there are sizable swings in fuel supplies or the economy."

National Stats

U.S. gas prices averaged $2.72 per gallon in 2018
The national average in 2017 was $2.39 per gallon
The national average is forecast to peak at around $2.75 per gallon in 2019
The highest daily average price in 2018 was $2.97 per gallon