BRADENTON -- Average retail gasoline prices in the Bradenton-Sarasota area have fallen 3.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.02 a gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 308 area gas outlets. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.04 a gallon, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
Local prices are 73.3 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 3.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 14.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 72.9 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.
"Gasoline prices over the weekend and holiday were certainly quite cheap compared to prior years and other holidays this year," said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. "While some cities and states may see some slight bumps at the pump in the days ahead thanks to the fallout of the downing of a Russian fighter jet last week, we're more focused on the upcoming OPEC meeting this coming weekend and the potential implications from any major change in oil production. There are expectations that OPEC will continue to kick the can down the road and not change production levels. If there are surprises either way, it could definitely be felt at the pump and into 2016."
Last week, motorists enjoyed the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008.
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"Gas prices have been falling at a rate of about a half cent a day, and if that pace continues, the national average will drop below $2 in the next two weeks," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "But there is potential for the pump price plunge to slow after oil prices climbed a few bucks last week."
Today, 36 percent of gas stations nationwide are selling fuel below $2 a gallon. Current average prices are $2.07 in Florida. The national average price for gasoline has declined 23 consecutive days. Prices are also following streaks-of-declines of 16 days in Florida. Pump prices on Christmas Day are forecast to be well below last year's holiday averages of $2.33 nationwide and $2.43 in Florida.