Houston gasoline approaching another low

Gasoline prices tumbled again in Houston last week, falling another 4.2 cents a gallon as the prolonged crude rout continued providing drivers relief at the pump.

Domestic benchmark crude prices settled below $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years, providing motorists across the U.S. with the cheapest fuel in years. About half of the cost of a gallon of gasoline is tied to oil prices, and with crude showing no signs of rebounding soon, analysts predict even cheaper pump prices soon.

“The continued and unprecedented plunge in the price of crude oil has continued, allowing gasoline prices in virtually the entire U.S. to continue plummeting,” Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at gasoline price website GasBuddy.com, said in a statement.

Houston drivers, on average, are paying $1.66 a gallon for regular gasoline, according to GasBuddy.com’s daily survey of more than 2,500 stations. That’s about 10 cents cheaper than last month.

The national average fell even more sharply, sliding 6.5 cents to $1.90 per gallon last week, or 10 cents lower than last month, according to GasBuddy. A historic price war touched off in Houghton Lake, Michigan, where at least one station on Sunday was selling gasoline for 47 cents per gallon, “prices unheard of in this century,” DeHaan wrote.

“From West Coast to East Coast, the decline has hit virtually everyone,” DeHaan wrote. “While the 99-cent per gallon barrier was breached (in Houghton Lake) due to competition willing to lose money, the downward trend taking place across the country will continue, with the national average likely to fall into the $1.70’s soon as motorists continue to enjoy falling fuel prices.”

Stations in Houston aren’t breaking the $1 barrier, but motorists can fill up for less than $1.50 a gallon in many locations across the area, according to GasBuddy. The cheapest price can be found at an Exxon station in southwest Houston, which is selling a gallon of regular for $1.36, according to GasBuddy.

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