The headline is not a misprint, although it begs for some clarification. Less than 30 days
after print and electronic media accurately noted the highest Independence Day prices in six years, most
Americans will see the lowest August 1 pump prices since 2010.
GasBuddy today reports a nationwide average of $3.509/gal, representing a 15ct drop from the July 4th
number of $3.658/gal. Most of the erosion occurred in a 32-day streak of consecutive drops that ended
on July 30th, when the nationwide average wobbled up a scant 0.1cts/gal. Increases in some local Great
Lakes’ metro areas yesterday probably represent a head fake rather than a new trend, and GasBuddy
notes that most Americans are seeing their lowest 2014 costs since March 14, which was one day ahead
of the secession vote in Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Put simply, most oil markets have returned to price levels seen before worries about Russian and Iraqi
supply dominated headlines in the second quarter. August typically brings a choppy environment for U.S.
fuel prices thanks to the possibility of tropical weather impacting Gulf Coast and Caribbean refining
operations. But unless a named hurricane hits refining clusters between Corpus Christi, Texas and
Pascagoula, Mississippi, GasBuddy projects that peak 2014 motor fuel prices are in the rear-view mirror
for most drivers.
August should be a transitional month with average prices drifting as a surprisingly robust driving
season comes to its conclusion on September 1. But GasBuddy analysts predict that pump prices will
almost certainly slide this autumn. High U.S. refining output should combine with rising North American
crude oil production and provide plenty of supply. Gasoline demand typically tails off by 10-million to 12-
million gallons per day in autumn weeks. Together with easier-to-manufacture autumn blends of
gasoline, it adds up to a recipe for cheaper prices.
“Currently, we see about 24 stations in four states where gasoline sells for less than $3.00/gal on the
street,” noted Tom Kloza, Chief Oil Analyst at GasBuddy. “By November, we’ll probably see thousands of
sites where $3.00/gal can be beaten.”
There’s one other feature of the current market that deserves special attention. The difference between
the highest 5% of gas prices and the lowest 5% of gas prices is extremely wide. The typical GasBuddy
mobile app user can easily save 95.8cts/gal if they actively search for the lowest price as August begins.