The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Augusta has dropped 25 cents in the past month, according to the Daily Fuel Gauge Report from AAA, but a petroleum analyst predicts area prices will soon stabilize.
“For Augusta, I expect it to stay around the high $2, low $3 area for the rest of the summer,” said Patrick DeHaan, an analyst for GasBuddy, which tracks gas prices nationally. “Short of a major storm in the area during the tropical season disrupting things, I think they’ll stay in that range.”
Across the river, South Carolina boasts the lowest average gas prices in the United States, with an average of $2.94 a gallon Friday.
Lincolnton, Ga., resident Angela Herring, who works in Augusta four days a week, said she has noticed the price drop in Georgia but fills her tank in South Carolina.
“I drive over here every single time,” Herring said. “It’s just always cheaper.”
Where Herring fueled up, regular gas was $2.78 per gallon.
South Carolina is the only state in the U.S. with average prices below $3 a gallon. Nationwide prices have dropped 27 cents in the past month.
DeHaan said two major factors have driven the sudden drop in the prices of crude oil and, subsequently, gasoline.
The first, DeHaan said, were rising concerns about the U.S. and global economies. Disappointing job reports and the economic turmoil in Europe have hurt most markets, and crude oil has not been spared.
DeHaan also attributed the price plunge to a rising domestic supply of crude oil. The nation’s inventories, he said, are higher than they have been since 1990.
The prices in South Carolina, DeHaan said, are a result of the state’s low taxes on gasoline, According to an April report from the American Petroleum Institute, South Carolina residents pay only 35 cents per gallon in state and federal taxes.
Georgians, by comparison, pay 48 cents per gallon, and the national average is 50 cents per gallon.