AAA: Lowest Gas Prices in 5 years as 2.8 million Virginians hit the road

Gas Prices, Travel
hand at gas pump

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., (December 22, 2014) – Virginia is looking to break two records this holiday season.  With the over 2.8 million travelers expected for the Christmas travel season and the lowest gas prices since 2009, a welcome surprise for those hitting the road in the next few days. Virginia’s average price for regular unleaded fuel is $2.29, 87 cents lower than last year and 37 cents lower than last month. The average price for regular gas in the Hampton Roads area is currently $2.32, an 87 cent decrease than last year and 42 cents lower than last month. The steady decline in gas prices this autumn is now longer than any period AAA has previously tracked. The national average price of gas has declined for 88 days in a row, which is the longest consecutive streak on record. Gas prices have fallen every day since September 25 to today’s average of $2.39, which is the lowest average price per gallon since May 2009. On Sunday, the decline in gas prices broke the previous record of 86 days set in 2008 during the height of the Great Recession.

Even better news for consumers is that the decline in the price at the pump has accelerated during the previous week. The current week-over-week drop of 15 cents is the largest such decline in more than six years. Motorists are paying 43 cents less than one month ago and 85 cents less than one year ago to refuel their vehicles, which mark the largest declines for those spans since 2008 and 2009 respectively.

“Lower prices at the pump will make taking that holiday trip to visit family or friends less of a strain on the budget,” stated Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia, “a nice Christmas bonus for the end of the year.”

Comparatively low prices for retail gasoline are helping consumers to save more than $450 million per day on gasoline compared to the highs earlier this year, which likely is having a positive effect on holiday shopping and travel.  AAA estimates that 98.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday season, which is the most on record. Barring any disruptions in domestic production or unexpected spikes in the global price of crude, consumers could see prices drop another 10-15 cents per gallon to ring in the New Year.

Abundant global supply and sluggish demand growth have helped push the global price of crude down by more than $50 per barrel since June. Although crude oil prices have seen dramatic price swings in recent years, this year’s plummet has been even more extreme and has triggered speculation surrounding the impact of sustained low prices for crude. Tumbling global prices have the potential to impact supply by slowing production in higher cost regions, which includes the United States. Additionally, a number of countries depend on oil income to balance their economies, and sustained low prices could lead to civil unrest as those governments struggle to deal with lower revenue streams.  At the close of formal trading on Friday, WTI closed down $2.14 per barrel at $57.81 on the NYMEX, the lowest settlement since May 2009.

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 325,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or on Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia