Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Gasoline prices at services stations across the United States fell for a seventh week, and are expected to see declines extend at least into early December.
"The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is down 7.8 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.53 per gallon, the lowest level since March 16," GasBuddy reported Monday. It was the seventh straight weekly decline, it added.
The AAA estimated prices a bit higher in its weekly report published Monday.
Fuel prices were on average $2.56 per gallon across the United States, 7 cents lower than in the previous week. "December may bring some of the cheapest gas prices of the year," said Jeanette Casselano, spokeswoman for the AAA.
Currently 19 states have lower fuel price averages than a year ago, she added. Fuel demand remains low and supply plentiful in the majority of the Great Lakes and Central states. Some South and Southeast states are also seeing lower prices due to high inventories.
The lowest average price of gasoline for this year was in January, at $2.49 per gallon, the AAA said.
"In the week ahead, motorists in most states will likely see further drops, saving the country $125 million a day versus prices in early October," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
"Oil prices have seen another weekly rout, with WTI crude oil shedding over $6 per barrel," he added. WTI was traded early morning Tuesday at $51.61 per barrel, down from $57 per barrel at the end of trading on Nov. 19.
There is uncertainty as to what could happen after December 6, depending on what decision members of the OPEC cartel could take.
The lowest prices across the United States were in Missouri, with a $2.18 per gallon average, followed by Oklahoma, at $2.21 per gallon. The largest weekly declines were in Ohio, where it fell 14 cents.
In the Northeast, prices did not decline as much because "fuel stock levels have not been this low since April," the AAA said.
Fuel prices in Connecticut were $2.84 per gallon, in New York $2.83 per gallon and in Washington, D.C., were $2.82 per gallon.
In the South and Southeast regions of the United States, gasoline inventories are seeing a nearly 2-million-barrel buildup.
"Five states in the region are enjoying pump prices that are cheaper year-over-year," the AAA said, citing Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and South Carolina.
In the West Coast, California -- which has stricter emissions controls than the rest of the country -- is seeing the highest prices in the continental United States at $3.61 per gallon. In Idaho, average prices fell below $3 per gallon for the first time since April, the AAA said.
Fuel sold in service stations across most of the United States is a combination of RBOB, or reformulate gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending, which is naphtha obtained from crude oil, that is later mixed with about 10 percent ethanol in most cases.
RBOB gasoline futures for January delivery were quoted Tuesday in the CME exchange at $1.43 per gallon, down from $1.53 per gallon a week earlier. The unit of RBOB trading is 42,000 gallons.
Ethanol, which is alcohol derived from corn and mainly used to improve the fuel's environmental impact as it adds oxygen, was quoted Tuesday at $1.25 per gallon for December delivery, same as a week earlier. The unit of trading is 42,000 gallons.