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Travelers Benefit from Lower Fuel Prices


Motorists are getting an extra gift this holiday season – the lowest gasoline prices in about five years. That includes the cheapest Christmas Day gas since 2008.

As of Monday, the auto club reported self-serve regular averages $2.26 per gallon in Pensacola. That’s 41 cents less than last month, and 96 cents a gallon lower than one year ago. Mark Jenkins at Triple-A South in Tampa says that’s also the lowest among Florida’s metro areas.

The statewide average in Florida is $2.43. It’s $2.32 in Georgia, and in Tennessee $2.18– all dipping below the previous lows set in 2008. It’s a simple formula -- less money going into the tank means more spending elsewhere.

As of Monday, the national average price of gas declined for the 95th consecutive day, the longest streak on record. In Florida it’s up to 87 days. Jenkins says the world’s oil supply continues to outpace demand keeping downward pressure on oil and gas prices. OPEC’s decision to keep production at its current level is also helping.

Heading into 2015, the International Energy Agency is forecasting oil prices to hover around the $63 per barrel mark next year -- a $12 decline compared to the fourth quarter of 2014.

Any fluctuation in prices at the pump will depend on a number of factors, such as oil production levels. Triple-A’s Mark Jenkins says if the prediction of $63 per barrel pans out, gas prices should remain below three dollars a gallon.

Meanwhile, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded has fallen every day from September 25 to Monday’s average of $2.30 -- which is the lowest average price per gallon since May 2009.