Some Bradenton gas prices fall below $1.80 per gallon

MANATEE — Gas prices fell another 7 cents last week as the national average settled at $2.07, moving closer to $2 a gallon. If it happens, this would be the first time the national average was under $2 in nearly six years (March 2009).

Manatee County gas prices continue to fall well beneath the averages. The lowest price for a gallon of gas in Manatee County on Tuesday was $1.77 at Mobil, 4905 State Road 64 E., Bradenton; followed closely by $1.78 per gallon at Thorntons, 4850 S.R. 64 E.; RaceTrac, 8100 S.R. 64 E.; and RaceTrac, 6319 S.R. 64 E.

The average price in Florida was $2.14 Sunday, 9 cents cheaper than a week ago, 40 cents less than a month ago, and $1.24 below the average price this time last year.

"The national average could be $2 or less by this time next week," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Gasoline has been falling at a rate of about 1-cent a day and that trend is likely to continue in the next seven days."

On Sunday, there were 24 states with an average price below $2 a gallon. Georgia and Ohio shared an average of $2.01.

Crude oil remains at the lowest levels since April 2009. The price for a barrel of WTI settled at $48.69 on the NYMEX on Friday. That settlement is 33 cents higher than the week before, and $2.62 higher than the settlement last Monday, but oil prices could continue in a downward trend moving into this week.

Barring any major increases in the global price of crude oil, AAA expects the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline to remain below $3.00 per gallon in 2015. The dramatic slide in retail gas prices has been driven by a similar plummet in global crude oil prices since the end of the summer. WTI prices have fallen $58.57 since June 20.