Eleven states now offer gasoline below $2 a gallon, with South Carolina offering the lowest prices in the nation.
The average price motorists are paying for gas in the Palmetto State, with its low gas tax, stands at $1.83 a gallon after dropping another 4 cents during the past week. Motor club AAA puts the price a penny higher.
The price in South Carolina is 50 cents less than this time last year and about 33 cents higher than the low of $1.50 reached during the slow winter-driving season.
Nationally, the price fell 4.5 cents last week to $2.15 a gallon. That’s about 57 cents lower than last year at this time.
“As air temperatures across the country rise to sweltering levels, gas prices have continued to cool,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “Not only are gas prices nationally at their lowest level of the summer, but they have continued to decline as the glut of oil and refined products has persisted. Almost every state saw a decline in gasoline prices versus (the previous) week, thanks to crude oil prices approaching their lowest level of the summer.”
Barring a major hurricane or other disruption, DeHaan believes many more states will offer gasoline below $2 a gallon by Halloween.
“That really isn’t a far stretch considering two out of five stations nationally and 11 states are already there,” he said.
Besides South Carolina, those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. Five other states are right at or slightly above the $2 mark. They include Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Texas.
In South Carolina, the lowest average gas prices can be found in the Greenville-Spartanburg area at $1.79 a gallon, according to AAA. The price in Charleston-North Charleston is averaging $1.85 a gallon as of Monday.
In the Charleston area. the price on Monday ranged from $1.72 in West Ashley to $2.11 near Kiawah Island.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.