Gas Prices at 3-Year Low Ahead of Holiday Season

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 07: A customer pumps gasoline at a service station May 7, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Gas prices reached a record national average price of $3.07 per gallon of regular unleaded, up over twenty cents in the past two weeks. San Francisco leads the nation with the highest average price of $3.49 per gallon.
National Journal
Clare Foran
Nov. 27, 2013, 10:20 a.m.

As Amer­ic­ans pile in­to SUVs, se­dans, and minivans and hit the road to make it home in time for Thanks­giv­ing dur­ing the busiest driv­ing sea­son of the year, they’ll be­ne­fit from prices at the pump that are lower than a year ago.

The av­er­age price of a gal­lon of gas rose slightly this week to hit $3.29, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased on Wed­nes­day by the En­ergy In­form­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Des­pite the in­crease, however, the cur­rent na­tion­al av­er­age is 14 cents be­low what it was one year ago and gas prices haven’t been this low ahead of the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day since 2010.

Some ex­perts, in­clud­ing Tom Kloza, the chief oil ana­lyst at the Oil In­form­a­tion Ser­vice, be­lieve prices could con­tin­ue to drop through the end of the year, with Kloza es­tim­at­ing that the av­er­age could fall to $3.05 in Decem­ber.

The largest piece of the puzzle con­trib­ut­ing to low prices at the pump is the lowered cost of crude oil, which has de­clined in re­cent weeks due to de­creased de­mand.

But don’t ex­pect things to say this way. The EIA pre­dicts that gas prices will in­crease to an av­er­age of $3.33 per gal­lon in the first quarter of next year and es­tim­ates that the an­nu­al av­er­age for 2014 will come in at around $3.39 over­all.

To the ex­tent that prices con­tin­ue to drop, however, re­tail­ers may see an up­tick in sales dur­ing the hol­i­day shop­ping peri­od.

“[Con­sumers] be­come less sur­gic­al in their shop­ping be­ha­vi­or,” Bill Mar­tin, ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent of re­tail ana­lyst Shop­per­Trak, told the As­so­ci­ated Press. “That opens the door to more im­pulse buy­ing.”

What We're Following See More »
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
5 hours ago

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Variety Looks at How Michelle Obama Has Leveraged Pop Culture
6 hours ago

“My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen," says Michelle Obama in a new profile in Variety. "So I’m always game for a good joke, and I’m not so formal in this role. There’s very little that we can’t do that people wouldn’t appreciate.” According to writer Ted Johnson, Mrs. Obama has leveraged the power of pop culture far beyond her predecessors. "Where are the people?" she asks. "Well, they’re not reading the op-ed pieces in the major newspapers. They’re not watching Sunday morning news talk shows. They’re doing what most people are doing: They are watching TV.”

New York Times, Other News Organizations Hacked
7 hours ago

The FBI and other US security agencies are currently investigating a series of computer breaches found within The New York Times and other news organizations. It is expected that the hacks were carried out by individuals working for Russian intelligence. It is believed that these cyber attacks are part of a "broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations, the officials said."

NLRB: Graduate Students Can Unionize
7 hours ago

In a 3-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of Columbia University graduate students, granting them the legal right to unionize. The petition was brought by a number of teaching assistants enrolled in graduate school. This decision could pave the way for thousands of new union members, depending on if students at other schools nationwide wish to join unions. A number of universities spoke out in opposition to this possibility, saying injecting collective bargaining into graduate school could create a host of difficulties.

Cruz Approval Ratings Underwater
9 hours ago

Following Texas Senator Ted Cruz's controversial decision not to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, instead telling voters to "vote (their) conscience," a new poll out today shows that his approval ratings have sunk. The poll from Public Policy Polling shows that 39 percent of Texans approve of the job Cruz is doing, compared to 48 percent who don't approve. Additionally, despite winning the GOP primary in the state, the poll found that if the primary was held today, Trump would garner 52 percent of support to just 38 percent for Cruz.