Lehigh Valley motorists are benefiting from falling gas prices over the summer, but some experts warn the downward trend may end soon.
The average price of regular gasoline in the Valley was $3.73 per gallon Wednesday, about 10 cents below the state average, according to AAA. That’s a big difference from early June, when motorists here were paying an average of $5.06 per gallon, a drop of $1.33.
The price is 49 cents more expensive than a year ago.
Price comparison website GasBuddy says the national average has been in free fall for 14 weeks and stands at $3.65.
In the Valley Wednesday afternoon, the lowest price per gallon was $3.42 per gallon at a location on Route 22 in Hanover Township, Northampton County, while some gas stations in Bethlehem were as high as $3.47, according to GasBuddy.
In Easton, several stations were still above the Valley average, while some stations across the river in Phillipsburg, New Jersey had prices between $3.09 and $3.19.
“With the 14th consecutive weekly decline, the national average price of gasoline has now surpassed 2018’s record decline, marking its longest decline since 2015,” GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan said in a blog post.
A daily update for the Lehigh Valley Business Person.
However, the week-to-week price change was just 4 cents, the smallest since prices began to fall, AAA says. That would signal an imminent end to the streak.
“All streaks must end at some point, and the national average for a gallon of gas has fallen $1.34 from its peak in mid-June,” AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said in a statement. “But there are bigger factors on global oil prices – war, COVID, recession and hurricane season. All of this uncertainty could drive up oil prices, resulting in slightly higher pump prices.
DeHaan acknowledged that the transition to winter blend gasoline beginning in the Midwest, along with refinery problems on the West Coast, could have an impact.
The good news, he said, is that diesel prices should continue to ease as inventories build.
Demand continues to decline, according to the Energy Information Agency, but has been offset by fluctuations in oil prices.
Crude oil was at $83.62 per barrel at the close of trading on Wednesday, continuing a slight price increase from the weekend.
Morning Call reporter Evan Jones can be reached [email protected].