Many Iowa motorists are getting an early Christmas gift as gasoline prices are at their lowest level in several years and one analyst predicts those prices will continue to fall through year’s end. Gail Weinholzer, at AAA-Iowa, says the last time gas prices fell below $3.00 a gallon was in December of 2010.
“The average this week in Iowa is right around $2.70 a gallon, which is very low,” Weinholzer says. “That’s 30-cents below this week last year. The only folks that aren’t benefiting from this situation are the folks who use diesel. They are still paying around $3.60 per gallon.” Hurricane season is over and there were no major storms that hit the Gulf Coast this year, plus, actions in the Middle East are keeping pump prices down.
“OPEC has decided not to cut production which means supplies will stay high,” Weinholzer says. “Anytime supplies are high, prices will remain low. That’s good news for those of us driving regular-fueled vehicles. For those driving diesel vehicles, they’re seeing prices remain very high.”
The early winter Iowa’s having gets much of the blame for those diesel prices. “The same refineries that refine diesel fuel also refine home heating fuel,” Weinholzer says. “Temperatures have been very low and the refineries are switching to home heating fuel much sooner than they normally would this time of year and as a result, diesel prices are being raised because diesel supplies are quite low.”
One gas price-watching website predicts we’ll see prices approach $2.00 a gallon before the new year arrives, but Weinholzer says while that’s possible, it’s highly unlikely.