Analysts predicted this spring that gasoline would be selling in Iowa at four-bucks a gallon by the 4th of July, but that won’t happen. With Independence Day only two days away, the statewide average is around $3.40 a gallon. Rayola Dougher, the chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, says the recent drops in crude oil prices reflect a larger problem.
“The reason is a little upsetting — that the world economy is on a downturn,” Dougher says. “It’s not as robust as we had hoped.” Iowa’s gas prices have fallen about a dime a gallon in the past week or so, but they’re a few cents higher than the national average.
As for what the rest of the summer may hold, she says it’s very hard to predict the movement in gasoline prices, as demonstrated by the forecasts from this spring. “There’s a lot of instability in the world’s markets still, in the Middle East where we don’t know how those supplies are going to play out for the rest of the year,” Dougher says.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen with the economies in the world.” Even with lower gas prices, Dougher says there are several things Iowa drivers can do to improve mileage and save money.
“Have your car tuned, that will save about a mile per gallon,” she says. “You can have your tires properly inflated. That’s another mile per gallon. If you drive 55 miles an hour, compared to 65, you could save two miles a gallon.” It’s a challenge lately, but she says if you use the air conditioner sparingly, you will save another two miles a gallon.
She says drivers can save between 10 and 20% at the pump if they take good care of their vehicles and watch their driving habits.