Iowa motorists will be encouraged to hear that after more than 1,400 days, a mile marker has been reached on gasoline prices. Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A Iowa, says prices have hit the lowest level in almost four years.
“The national average price of gas dropped below $3 a gallon for the first time since December 22nd, 2010, ending its longest streak ever above that price.” The national average for ethanol blends is now $2.95 a gallon. In Iowa, pump prices have been falling, holding steady, then falling some more for weeks.
White says the statewide average for ethanol blends is now $2.97 a gallon, though some Iowa retailers are in the $2.70s. “They continue to drop almost on a daily basis,” White says. “We did see processed fuel trickle up a little bit on the commodities market but we don’t expect it to stay there.”
Crude oil prices are trading around $79 a barrel, down from $107 a barrel just a couple of months ago. Several factors are fueling the drop in gas prices, including a big increase in domestic crude oil production.
“It’s currently at its highest level in 30 years thanks to North Dakota,” White says. “With corn prices being down, ethanol prices have dropped as well. Also, the demand is flat right now and we have to look at the hurricane situation. There has not been a hurricane that’s impacted oil operations in the U.S. in the last two years.”
It’s typical for gas prices to fluctuate heading into winter but White says at this point, there’s no indicator that prices will rebound anytime soon. White says, “There are many factors that impact fuel prices which makes it very difficult to predict but looking at what we have right now, with the increase in production, the demand being flat, we do anticipate paying very favorable rates throughout the rest of the year.” The cheapest average gas price in an Iowa metro area is in Sioux City at $2.88 a gallon, while Davenport is the most expensive, averaging $3.02.