Automobile club AAA is predicting that, after a traditional bump in the spring, gasoline prices this year will be less expensive than in 2012.
Increased domestic oil production and lower demand, according to a AAA news release, projecting that the national average price of gasoline should peak at $3.60-$3.80 per gallon barring any significant unanticipated events, which compares to a peak of $3.94 a gallon last year.
On Mercer Island, the average price of a gallon of regular is $3.65, and the lowest price is currently $3.61.
Here's the latest prices around town:
- Mercer Island Shell, 7833 SE 28th St.: $3.61
- Jackson's Shell, 2903 78th Ave. SE: $3.61
- Mercer Island Chevron, 7655 Sunset Hwy: $3.66
- Pete's South Mercer Chevron, 8407 SE 68th St: $3.70
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett is $3.46, one cent higher than it was in December.
Statewide, a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.398, while diesel fuel is $3.987 per gallon on average.
“Cheaper gas prices are good news for the millions of Americans that depend on their car to travel where they need to go,” said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet. “Lower gasoline prices should translate into billions of dollars in tangible household savings given that the vast majority of Americans rely on automobiles to live their lives.”
Gasoline prices should rise steadily through April or early May, but at a slower pace than last year. As is typical for this time of year, prices will rise as a result of seasonal demand increases and in anticipation of the switchover to more expensive summer-blend gasoline. Following a late-spring peak, prices should drop during the first half of the summer to as low as $3.20-$3.40 per gallon before rising again in advance of the Gulf Coast hurricane season and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline. Prices should end the year by falling to low or near-low averages for 2013.
The annual average price of gasoline in 2012 was the most expensive on record at $3.60 per gallon, but the situation for motorists is already improving. On Jan. 5, the national daily average dropped below the year-ago price for the first time since August 20, which means motorists are now paying less for gasoline than last year – a trend that AAA believes is likely to continue.