It is about time. At $2.44 the national gas price average has set a new record low for 2018. This is nearly a nickel less than this time last December. AAA expects the national gas price average to fluctuate through the end of the month and possibly end the year as cheap as $2.40. 

If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans heading home for the holidays, you won’t find a lump of coal in your Christmas stockings or at the self-serve gas kiosk. The gas price average in the Washington, D.C. metro area is one cent lower than last year’s average and is at the lowest point of 2018. The gas price average is at least 49 cents below 2018 high prices. The gas price average in the District of Columbia is still three cents away from year ago prices and is at the lowest point since March 4. The gas price average is at least 38 cents below 2018 high prices.

2018 Gasoline Price Average Recap
 
12/6/2018
Year Ago
2018 High
National
$2.44
$2.48
$2.97 (5/25)
Washington, D.C.
$2.73
$2.70
$3.11 (5/28)
D.C. Metro
$2.46
$2.47
$2.95 (5/25)
 
"Day-in and day-out, Americans motorists consume about 400 million gallons of gasoline on a daily basis (or about 142.98 billion gallons annually, as was the case in 2017). It is axiomatic: when pump prices drop a penny, consumers save around $4 million,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Consumers will have more change jingling in their pockets this holiday season as they save on fuel fill-ups, especially compared to this summer. 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. As prices continue to drop, some motorists are filling up for $2/gallon or less.”
 
During 2017, the average annual retail cost of gasoline was $2.42 per gallon, versus an annual retail price of $2.15 per gallon in 2016, and the national average price of a gallon of gasoline in 2015 was $2.40 per gallon, the cheapest in the ten previous years. Here is the tale of the tape at the self-serve gasoline kiosk.
 
Highest and Lowest Gas Price Averages for Dec. 6 
Highest Average – Hawaii - $3.62 
Lowest Average – Missouri - $2.01
 
Local Rankings
District of Columbia – 14th highest average – $2.73
Maryland – 29th highest average – $2.35
Virginia – 36th highest average – $2.25
 
About two-thirds of the retail cost of a gallon of gasoline is determined by the cost of crude oil. There are 42 gallons in a barrel of crude oil and Americans consume “about 9.33 million barrels per day.” Globally, crude supply is growing faster than anticipated. Contributing to the surplus is the United States’ record-breaking production levels – which hit the highest level ever recorded by the Energy Information Administration at 11.7 million b/d last month. In addition, there is more Iranian supply in the market than expected due to the U.S. granting crude sanction waivers to some of Iran’s largest importers, including India, South Korea and Japan.
 
To help reduce the growing surplus of global crude supply, this week the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met to discuss the potential of cutting crude production by up to 1 million barrels per day. The announcement was expected yesterday, but the cartel delayed the decision until Friday to give time for non-OPEC countries, including Russia, to decide if they will join the production reduction agreement. Following the delay on Thursday, crude oil prices trended cheaper than earlier in the week because the announcement was not as firm as the market expected. AAA forecasts that as long as crude stays below the $60/bbl mark, Americans will continue to see cheaper gas prices through the end of the year. It has been said: “Changes in gasoline and diesel prices at the retail level mirror changes in crude oil prices.”
 
AAA Members save at Shell through the Fuel Rewards® Program
Announced this week, AAA members can now save up to five cents per gallon through Dec. 31, 2019, when filling up at participating Shell branded stations across the U.S. through the Fuel Rewards® program. AAA members just need to sign-up at AAA.com/Shell to reap the benefits of this new Discount and Reward program.
 
An added benefit, members registering for the first time in the Fuel Rewards® program will save 25 cents per gallon on their first fill-up through January 31, 2019. Before providing payment when fueling up, members will see prices roll back at the pump when they enter their Fuel Rewards® Alternative ID, which they use to join, typically a phone number.
 
Winter Fuel & Driving Tips
As you hit the road this winter, AAA offers these tips to help conserve fuel and keep motorists safe:
  • If possible, only run the engine and heater long enough to remove the chill. This will help to conserve fuel. Also, parking your car in a garage will help it stay warm.
  • As a precaution, keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times. It helps to reduce condensation in the fuel system. It also helps ensure an adequate reserve of fuel to run the engine for heat should your car become disabled in a remote location.
  • Be sure to pack an emergency roadside kit in your car containing a mobile phone and car charger, first-aid kit, blankets, drinking water and snacks, a flashlight with extra batteries, a basic toolkit, warning flares, an ice scraper, jumper cables and a shovel.