Gas prices falling, trend may continue

Published 11:45 pm Thursday, November 7, 2013

Motorists have likely noticed a downward trend in gas prices re cently, and averages could be falling even more in the weeks to come.

The average price for a regular gallon of gasoline in Louisiana was at $3.03 Thursday, 5 cents lower than the $3.08 per gallon motorists paid to fill up last week. Last month’s average was $3.18, while the price per gallon was at $3.30 a year ago, according to AAA.

In Bogalusa, the average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.99, falling 12 cents from last week’s average of $3.11. Last month’s average was $3.21, and the price per gallon averaged $3.38 at this time last year.

The Franklinton-area average for a gallon of gas is $3.03, a 5-cent drop from the $3.08 seen last week. The average price was $3.20 last month and $3.37 this time last year.

By the end of the year, if the trend continues, prices could be at levels not seen since 2010. That December ended with a statewide average of $2.84 a gallon, said Don Redman of AAA.

It is reasonably safe to assume averages will drop below $3 a gallon, barring any significant changes in production, Redman said. It is difficult to determine exactly how low prices will go, but he said there is a good chance of getting close to the 2010 numbers.

Redman noted that gas is a commodity sold in the open market, and prices are sensitive to the events of the day. He said dramatic news from the Middle East or North Africa could cause a spike, but things are relatively quiet now.

Several factors kept gas prices high during the last couple of years. For example, Redman said unusual events at the beginning of the year caused an increase, including the Arab Spring and the potential strikes against Syria and Libya.

A factor in the downswing in gas prices is that there were no significant hurricanes this season to affect the re fining or drilling pro cesses. Redman added that the hurricane season does continue until the end of this month.

“There’s always that possibility that a late-blooming storm could reverse our fortune,” he said. “But right now I think we’re just seeing a good, steady trend of prices continuing to drop.”

The drop in gas prices is a nationwide trend. The national average is at $3.22, 13 cents lower than last month’s average of $3.35.

While prices are still relatively high in places such as Alaska and Hawaii, Redman said Missouri’s average of $2.86 is among the cheapest in the country.

“It’s very possible that we could be looking at prices similar to what Missouri is paying in the next few weeks,” he said.