If the price of gasoline continues to fall, motorists may well start packing their minivans for an old-fashioned summer vacation to Yellowstone.
The price of a gallon of gas in the Omaha area has dropped to $3.48 at many filling stations, with $3.45 spotted Sunday for unleaded with ethanol at a convenience mart at 120th and Fort Streets and at a filling station near 50th and Dodge Streets. That is a drop of more than 50 cents from the year's high of $3.99 for a gallon of unleaded gas in the metropolitan area.
“It's certainly welcome news with the start of the summer driving season only a month away,'' AAA Nebraska's Rose White said.
Only a month ago, oil industry experts cautioned that unleaded regular gas could cost $4 to $4.50 a gallon by summer.
As long as there are no problems with fuel deliveries or at oil refineries and the Middle East remains relatively calm, White said, motorists probably won't pay those high prices.
“Over the last two weeks,'' White said, “we've seen a nice drop.''
A month ago, the average for a gallon of unleaded regular gas in the Omaha area was $3.88, up from the $3.27 a gallon Omahans paid in January but lower than the nearly $4 a gallon Omahans paid in late March. Then came a 30-cent drop in a single week to end March at $3.69 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas.
By Monday morning, the statewide average for unleaded regular in Nebraska was $3.75 a gallon — 12 cents below the average per-gallon price at this time last year. Iowa's average Monday was $3.67 for a gallon of unleaded regular gas, down from $3.79 a year ago.
Nationwide, motorists Monday were paying an average of $3.85 for a gallon of unleaded regular gas.
Why the decline? In a word, demand.
White said demand has dropped 7 percent nationally compared with last year at this time. She attributed the decline to motorists driving smarter and less aggressively and to more fuel-efficient vehicles hitting the roads in recent years.
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