AAA: Ky. average gas price puts it among the lowest in the nation

LEXINGTON — Kentucky’s average gas price dropped another 11 cents from last week, the second highest week-over-week decrease in the nation. At $2.27/gallon, the Commonwealth now ties with two other states at having the 7th lowest average gas price this week.

The latest drop in prices puts Kentucky’s average price at 36 cents less than just a month ago and 9 cents less than the average gas price a year ago.

Nationally, the average gas price dropped another 6 cents in the past week to $2.56, but still remains about a nickel higher than a year ago. As pump prices steadily decline, they are headed toward some of the cheapest gas prices in 2018. The national average was lowest in January at $2.49 while May brought the most expensive price of $2.97.

“Trends are indicating that the month of December may bring some of the cheapest gas prices of the year,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, AAA Blue Grass manager of public and government affairs. “Currently, 19 states—including Kentucky—already have gas price averages less expensive than a year ago, so as U.S. gasoline demand remains low and supply plentiful, motorists can expect to save at the pump as long as the price of crude oil doesn’t spike.”

Gas prices have been cheaper in the U.S. as crude oil sells at $57/barrel and cheaper—the lowest prices of the year. However, market observers warn crude could see an increase following the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting on December 6 in Vienna, Austria. At that meeting, OPEC is expected to curtail crude production by 1 million to 1.4 million barrels per day, which could cause crude prices to rise due to reduced global supply, in turn causing gas prices to turn higher in America.

But for now, gas prices continue to drop across nearly all of Kentucky in the past week, with the exception of Henderson, which saw prices remain steady at 2.10, the lowest average price in Kentucky.

Lexington motorists are now paying $2.14, down another dime from last week and 41 cents lower than just a month ago. With the latest decline, gas prices in Lexington are now 12 cents per gallon cheaper on average than a year ago.

Some cities saw as much as a 15 cent drop week over week. Covington saw the average gas price drop 16 cents, Owensboro by 15 cents and Louisville by 13 cents, week over week.

The majority of the central region of the U.S., which includes Kentucky, as well as the Great Lakes states, are carrying gas price averages cheaper than one year ago: Iowa (-20 cents), Indiana (-16 cents), Ohio (-15 cents), Michigan (-14 cents), Nebraska (-14 cents), Illinois (-11 cents), Missouri (-11 cents), Kentucky (-9 cents), Kansas (-7 cents), Wisconsin (-6 cents) and Minnesota (-2 cents). Only 19 states in the country have less expensive year-over-year average gas prices and 11 of those are in this region.

Ohio leads the nation in week-over-week price declines at 14 cents cheaper, followed by Kentucky and Mississippi, each at an 11 cent decline.

The week’s prior build in gasoline inventory for the region was cancelled out as stocks drew by nearly half a million according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest data. Total stocks continue to register just above the 46 million barrel mark and year-over-year, inventory is at a 1.1 million barrel surplus. Despite the draw, regional utilization jumped 7 percent to 91.4 percent, indicating that stocks could build in the coming weeks and help to make prices even cheaper.

QUICK STATS ON THE NATION

• The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Ohio (-14 cents), Kentucky (-11 cents), Mississippi (-11 cents), South Carolina (-10 cents), Michigan (-9 cents), Alabama (-9 cents), Arkansas (-9 cents), Georgia (-9 cents), Illinois (-9 cents) and Texas (-9 cents).

• The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Missouri ($2.18), Oklahoma ($2.21), South Carolina ($2.23), Texas ($2.24), Delaware ($2.24), Louisiana ($2.26), Mississippi ($2.27), Alabama ($2.27), Kentucky ($2.27) and Ohio ($2.28).

AAA offers these tips to motorists to save at the pump:

• If your vehicle’s engine does not require premium or mid-grade fuel, don’t buy it. Using anything other than regular grade is simply a waste of money.

• Don’t top off your gas tank. Stop filling after the automatic nozzle shuts off the second time.

If you have to replace a gas cap, make sure it is the right one for your car. An ill-fitting cap will increase emissions and trigger the “check engine” light.

• Keep track of gas mileage. If you notice a sudden decrease in fuel economy, have your vehicle checked by a technician to ensure it is operating properly.

• Check for proper tire pressure, which can fluctuate greatly with changing temperatures.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.