COLUMBUS: Call it a holiday miracle — gas prices below $3 a gallon in Ohio.
Prices at the pump have edged below $3 at many stations in Ohio in the past couple days, while lots of others are hovering around that mark.
The state average has dropped 6 cents since Monday. The average Thursday was $3.08 for a gallon of regular gas in the survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc.
The Toledo average Thursday was $2.95, while Dayton stations were averaging $3.00 and Columbus stations $3.03. The highest average price was $3.18 in the Youngstown area.
The national average Thursday was $3.25.
“The Midwest has had the cheapest gas prices nationwide,” Ohio AAA spokeswoman Kimberly Schwind said. “It’s a combination of weak demand, healthy production and ample inventory.”
Ohio prices are tied to wholesale prices in Chicago that have been the lowest in the country, Schwind said. Crude oil rates are down and Midwest refineries have been healthy, leading to higher production.
But pump prices depend on so many different factors that it’s hard to tell how long the sub-$3 trend will last, Schwind said. And prices are probably not going to go much lower.
“It looks like we might have hit the bottom, and we could start to see the prices go up a little,” she said.
The last time the Ohio average dipped below $3 a gallon was in December 2010.
Online: AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report at http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com.