Gas prices hit record low since Dec. 2010

The average gas price in Waco is lower than the state average of $2.76 per gallon, with this week’s average at $2.61.Lariat Photographer
The average gas price in Waco is lower than the state average of $2.76 per gallon, with this week’s average at $2.61.
Skye Duncan | Lariat Photographer

By Elly Spencer

Gas prices in Central Texas are at the lowest point since December 2010, just in time for holiday and travel.

Texas’ monthly average is at $2.76 per gallon, according to AAA Texas, and is predicted to go even lower during the coming months.

However, Waco’s average prices this week are even lower than the state’s at $2.61 per gallon.

“Worldwide demands on gasoline are low, so prices are getting low,” said Tom Kelly, Baylor’s director of the Center for Business and Economic Research.

For the first time in years, the global supply of gasoline is higher than the demand for the product. Libyan oil production, lower-than-expected demand in Europe and Asia and a new United States oil production has sent provisions soaring.

“The United States’ oil production have outweighed any concerns to geopolitical instability,” said Doug Shupe, AAA senior public affair specialist for Texas and New Mexico.

Shupe said another reason for the recent drop in gas prices is also in part because of a seasonal trend.

“Production for winter-blend gases begin in September,” Shupe said. “This blend doesn’t have to meet the emission standard of the warmer months, making it cheaper.”

While a drop in gas prices might normally mean more opportunity for traveling, it is the decrease in traveling during autumn months that also produces a reduced price at the pump, Shupe said.

“They’re normally cheaper after a busy summer traveling season and a future winter traveling season,” Shupe said.

Cheaper gas prices also means good news for the economy, at both the local and national level, Kelly said.

“The lower prices allow people to buy other things,” Kelly said.

Kelly said there has been a 7-8 percent boost in Waco’s local retailer sales in the recent months.

Baylor students are now free to make more traveling plans for the holidays, instead of the normal option of airlines.

“I recently drove to St. Louis,” said Wamego, Kan., senior Bailey Bettencourt. “It was so much cheaper than the ticket I could’ve flown with.”

In the coming weeks, Central Texas drivers should expect gas prices to stay low, Shupe said.

“Motorists could expect to pay even less in the coming weeks,” he said. “Many analysts believe that prices will go down, barring any major disputes.”