By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
PORTLAND, Maine — Statewide gas prices fell again during the past week, with the average price dipping 4 cents and further declines expected heading into Christmas week.
The statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline on Monday was about $2.14, according to surveys from GasBuddy and AAA. That’s about 57 cents lower than the average one year ago and down about 10 cents from one month ago.
At least 15 stations in Maine posted prices below $2 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy reports, many of which offered that price for cash transactions only. Stations with the lowest prices — including two at $1.92 per gallon — can be found in the Bangor area.
Prices at those stations are hovering around the national average, which dropped almost 2 cents to $2.01 in the past week.
Maine is one of 48 states where the statewide average price is down more than 50 cents from one year ago, according to AAA.
Jeff Pelton, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said in a news release Monday that the current rate of crude oil production means price decreases are likely to continue into the winter.
“Expect refineries to do their part to get through the glut of crude on hand and that will put pressure on gas prices to fall the next month or so,” Pelton said.
That comes as more people are likely to buckle up for long-distance rides. The federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported in 2001 that long-distance trips increase about 23 percent during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, compared with the average for the rest of the year. Most of that long-distance travel, as with long-distance travel generally, was by car.
In its holiday gasoline price forecast, AAA reported that federal statistics showing rising gasoline inventories and increasing production are likely to keep pushing prices down.
Steady output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, has contributed to that price decline and has also hit U.S. crude oil producers hard.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that the U.S. oil rig count in October had fallen more than 60 percent from one year earlier.