Gas Photo

With a car wash, motorists may pump regular grade gasoline at the local Circle K station for $1.66 a gallon. Most gasoline along the U.S. 27 business strip was selling for under $2 a gallon.

If your gauge is near empty you can fill 'er up (15 gallons) for less than $30. Prices for regular unleaded gasoline have fallen below $2 a gallon along Somerset's business strip.

Even in an era when one usually says "ouch" while pulling into a filling station there seems a pattern that prices for regular grade gasoline dips lowest this time of year. Prices at the pump were under $2 a gallon both in January 2017 and January 2019.

Anyway, it's better now that it used to be. Pain at the pump was really sharp during the 2008-2012 period when gasoline peaked at near $4 a gallon. Gasoline price patterns seem to jump 30 cents a gallon and then slowly fall a couple of cents at a time.

We shouldn't complain. Gasoline today is cheaper than during the Good Ol' Days. The price of gas in 1950 was approximately 30 cents a gallon. Adjusted for inflation, a gallon of gas today should cost right at $2.64, assuming taxes are the same. Besides that, 1950-model cars did well to get 15 miles per gallon. Your car today on a trip probably gets nearly 30 miles per gallon.

GasBuddy reports the Murphy USA station at Somerset's Walmart dropped to $1.96 a gallon about 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. GasBuddy is a tech company based in Boston that operates apps and websites based on finding real-time fuel prices at more than 140,000 gas stations in the United States, Canada and Australia.

A BP station on North U.S. 27 at Ky. 635 (Science Hill) was selling regular grade gasoline for $1.99 a gallon Wednesday morning, and the two local Speedway stations and Kroger also were a penny under $2, according to GasBuddy. Highest price noticed in Somerset Wednesday was $2.13 a gallon at a "we pump it for you" station.

Somerset motorists would burn more gasoline getting there than they would save but there are lower gasoline prices in Kentucky. A Circle K convenience store in Henderson is selling regular gas for $1.88 a gallon; a Spur station in Corbin and a Spur Oil station in Barbourville both are letting motorists pump regular grade for $1.89 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Lowest gasoline price in Monticello was $2.14 a gallon. Pump prices ranged from $2.14 to $2.19 a gallon in Russell Springs. In Mt. Vernon, gasoline retailers apparently hadn't got the word about falling prices. GasBuddy said pump prices near the 1-75 interchange Wednesday morning ranged from $2.39 to $2.45.

Compared to the national average, gasoline prices in the Somerset area are a bargain. The national average currently stands at $2.72 a gallon for regular gas, down 17 cents from the 2019 high in early May and down 7 cents in just the past week, according to AAA. Retail gasoline prices have been falling steadily for several weeks now. Wholesale prices are falling even faster, suggesting prices at the pump should continue to fall.

"Pretty much every portion of the country should see drops between now and the end of next week," said Tom Kloza, head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service.

Most of the decline is because of falling oil prices, in part thanks to booming oil production in the United States. That has made up for cuts in production by OPEC nations designed to support prices. Oil prices have also fallen in part because of weaker-than-expected demand for gasoline in international markets, particularly China, where slowing economic activity has cut into auto sales.

America's oil boom will break more records this year. "[Gas prices] should continue to fall as we move through the summer," said Kloza.

The national average price will probably decline even more –– perhaps to $2.25 a gallon according to Kloza –– later in the year. Once the summer driving season ends, demand for gasoline falls, pushing down prices. So does a switch away from the more expensive blend of gasoline required in the summer months to control smog.

A national average of $2.25 a gallon would probably mean nearly half the nation's gas stations will be selling regular gas for less than $2 a gallon, Kloza said.

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