Business & Real Estate

Gas prices falling as fall nears its end

Sacramento-area gas prices, which were pretty much locked in place for much of the early fall, are finishing up November in a steady decline.

The average retail price of gasoline in the area is $2.48 a gallon, down 2.4 cents from last week and a plunge of nearly 13 cents over the past three weeks, according to Monday’s report by national gas price tracker

The local average is slightly below the year-ago price of $2.52 a gallon and significantly lower than the at-the-pump costs reported in 2014 ($2.93), 2013 ($3.43), 2012 ($3.56) and 2011 ($3.62).

The national average is $2.12 a gallon, which is actually 7.7 cents higher than it was one year ago.

Ample fuel supplies and the impact of international trading have combined to keep prices down, according to energy analysts.

“Early last week…crude (oil) had climbed above $48 (per barrel) but was unable to hold on, and in late trading Friday had slipped below $46,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “And that probably ties directly to doubts about Iraq, Iran and the likelihood that Russia, the largest non-OPEC oil exporter, will agree only to a freeze and not a production cut of its own, which OPEC says is essential for the cartel to implement its plan to cut back by 1 million barrels per day.”

Laskoski noted that Wednesday’s meeting of OPEC members could change things, but gas prices likely will continue to stay at low levels if no agreement is reached.

“Prices at the pump generally fall in December,” Laskoski added. “…Over the past four years the average decline from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 has been 15 cents per gallon, and I’d have to think most of us would be pretty happy with that.”