Gasoline falling to $2 a gallon at the pump will put $1.6 billion back in U.S. drivers’ wallets this holiday season.
That’s how much consumers will save during their year-end travels compared with last year, according to price tracker GasBuddy. The average nationwide pump price dropped to $1.99 a gallon on Dec. 20, the lowest in more than six years, and was at $2.01 on Tuesday.
In the Kansas City area, pump prices are about 25 cents below the national average.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmasin 2008,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “There has not been a better time in years for motorists to extend their trips and travel farther, as sub-$2 per gallon gas can be found at almost 70 percent of stations in the country.”
Consumers are benefiting from a 66 percent drop in West Texas Intermediate crude over the past 18 months. That has boosted refiners’ profit margins, encouraging them to produce record amounts of fuel. Prices are poised to remain depressed into next year after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries refused to limit its output.
According to GasBuddy’s holiday survey, 88 percent of those heading out of town will be traveling by car, with 66 percent driving at least 200 miles round trip. The organization defines year-end travel as spanning Dec. 23 through Jan. 3.