The two-week drop in oil prices is paying off for drivers in some parts of the country more than others.
Retail gasoline prices have now fallen for 19 straight days to a national average of $2.669 per gallon. State averages are 10 to 15 cents lower a gallon in many parts of the Midwest and South, and locally prices may as low as $2.25 per gallon, said Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service.
Different tax rates from state to state are part of the reason for price gaps. Wholesale prices also can vary considerably throughout the country.
The Midwest has the cheapest wholesale prices, and declining wholesale prices in California also are the reason why retail prices there have broken below $3 a gallon, said Kloza.
After falling 0.5 cents overnight, the national average was down 8.53 cents from the 15-month peak of $2.7543 a gallon reached on Jan. 14, according to AAA, Wright Express and OPIS.
Prices have dropped 4 cents a gallon in the past week, but are still a penny above levels of a month ago. Prices are 80.2 cents higher than a year ago.
Kloza said prices could fall another nickel or dime per gallon before hitting bottom for the winter.
The Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on average gasoline prices for the U.S. on Monday.
After trading lower since hitting a 15-month high last month, oil prices bounced back above $73 per barrel Monday.
Analysts blamed the jump on a variety of factors, including attacks on an oil pipeline in Nigeria, persistently cold weather in the Northeast and a stronger stock market.
Benchmark crude for March delivery rose 88 cents to $73.77 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 75 cents on Friday to settle at $72.89.
Crude prices have fallen more than 11 percent since the start of the year on signs that demand for energy remains weak.
In other Nymex trading in March contracts, heating oil rose 2.45 cents to $1.9375 a gallon and gasoline added 1.31 cents at $1.9265 a gallon. Natural gas rose 24.5 cents to $5.376 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude rose 88 cents to $72.34 on the ICE futures exchange.
© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.