As 2019 begins, Ohioans are enjoying lower gas prices to help ring in the new year.
The average regular gas price in Ohio is $1.90, according to gasbuddy.com. Prices are averaging to $1.80 in Summit County and $1.83 in Portage County.
GasBuddy Senior Petroleum Analyst Dan McTeague said two factors are playing a large part in the low gas prices. First, oil has come down from $77 a barrel to $45 per barrel. Second, competition between gas retailers has also encouraged the lowering of prices.
Compared to last year at this time, gas is about 58 cents cheaper per gallon. Compared to last month, gas is down 27 cents a gallon and 16 cents from last week.
“The average price right now is not far from what it costs most gas stations to buy their fuel,” McTeague said. “Consumers are the big winners.”
On Monday, the Sunoco at 1836 E. Main St. in Kent, priced its gas at $1.85 a gallon. Rafiq Sadiq, manager of the location, said he tries to keep the price per gallon about three or four cents cheaper than local competition.
“When gas is cheap outside, it makes people come inside,” Sadiq said.
Kemet Floyd, a student at Kent State University, stopped by Sunoco on Monday to put gas in his tank. He enjoys the low prices because he is able to save money for tuition and books.
In Ravenna, several stations had gas for $1.74 per gallon while in Brimfield prices ranged from $1.66 to $1.77.
McTeague predicts gas prices are likely to remain at their current price point at least until the first few weeks of January. However, that is not a certainty. Retailers may restore prices to regain lost margins at some point. Global trends, some relating to fuel and some not, also drive pricing.
Oil prices may continue to decrease, McTeague said, but it is too early to predict trends. Events that have yet to unfold, like a more pronounced trade war with China and OPEC’s success, could greatly drive gas prices in either direction.
Based on the unpredictability of gas prices and because the average price is so much lower than usual, McTeague suggests people “fill ‘er up” now.
“Prices tend to go down to such a point then suddenly they rebound, causing some frustration,” McTeague said. “But if you’re seeing prices now in the $1.85 range, it might be a good idea to top off because come the first few days of the new year, they may restore those prices.”