Cary, NC – After gasoline prices significantly higher than previous years all throughout 2018, Cary motorists are getting some relief as prices hit a year low as OPEC meets to discuss possible price changes.
Lowest Prices of the Year
In the Cary area, average gas prices are $2.341 per gallon, which is actually cheaper than prices this same time last year ($2.371 per gallon). This is a big drop in prices, with the average a month ago at $2.622 per gallon.
The price drop has not just affected the Triangle. The national average is down to $2.436 per gallon. In fact, Wake County is in the upper percentile for gas prices in North Carolina, with cheaper prices in all neighboring counties except for Durham and Orange and Granville Counties. The cheapest prices are in Southwest North Carolina, around Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties.
“The national gas price average has dropped more than 50 cents since Memorial Day weekend when the average spiked to a high of $2.97,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “As prices continue to drop, some motorists are filling up for $2/gallon or less.”
Nationwide, North Carolina has below average gas prices, with the cheapest prices in Texas and the Midwest. The most expensive gas prices are all in Western states, from California to Wyoming.
There are a number of factors behind the price drop. For one, gasoline prices are almost always lower in Winter months. There is less demand for driving and travel than in warmer seasons and the “Winter blend” of gasoline, which does not include chemicals to prevent evaporation, is cheaper to produce than the “Summer blend.”
In this case, most of the price drop can be explained by a faster-than-expected increase in global crude oil production. The United States recently broke its own record of 11.7 million barrels produced in November, according to the Energy Information Administration.
“Cheap crude oil prices are driving the fuel savings at the pump, as last week crude dropped to its lowest point of the year,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson.
That may change soon as the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met this Thursday, December 6, 2018 and agreed to cut production to keep prices up, reducing production by more than one million barrels.
Also, as we get closer to Christmas, travel may increase as people go to see family and friends, which could result in a price increase, particularly if paired with reduced crude oil production.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Markus Spiske and AAA.