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Bradenton gas prices crater to $1.66 per gallon; AAA says big increase unlikely

MANATEE – The average price for gasoline in Florida was 8 cents above $2 Sunday, but should drop below $2 within the next month, according to AAA projections.

In Manatee County, the lowest price for a gallon of gas was $1.66 at 1.66 at Thorntons, 4850 State Road 64 E., and Mobil, 4905 S.R. 64 E., both in Bradenton.

“The gas price plunge is directly connected to declining global crude oil prices,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Like pump prices, crude oil prices have posted multi-year lows due to global supply outpacing demand, which has kept downward pressure on the price of crude and ultimately meant hefty discounts in retail gasoline for U.S. drivers. The price of oil dipped again last week, meaning motorists could see even more discounts at the pump in the coming days.”

Crude oil has fallen more than $62 since the summer. On Friday, the price of WTI settled at $45.59 a barrel on the NYMEX, $3.10 cheaper than the week before.

“Gas prices will keep falling until the price of oil bottoms out,” said Jenkins. “It’s unclear when that will happen, but oil prices should remain relatively low through the first half of the year. AAA expects the national average for gasoline to remain below $3 per gallon in 2015, barring any major fluctuations in the global price of crude. While increased seasonal demand and maintenance at refineries may result in a typical 30- to 50-cent increase in pump prices this spring, a major global price recovery is unlikely to be on the horizon, unless there are major market disruptions or geopolitical events."

U.S. motorists are paying the lowest average gas prices since March 2009, and the national average is likely to slide below $2 per gallon before the end of the month. The average price at the pump has dropped a record 122 consecutive days, for a total a savings of $1.30 per gallon during this stretch. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.04 per gallon. Sunday’s price was 3 cents less than one week ago, 29 cents less than one month ago and $1.25 less than one year ago.

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