$3 Gas In NJ? Prices Fall With Christmas Travel Approaching
NEW JERSEY – Unless your vehicle is powered by reindeer, the downward trend in gas prices can add some sparkle to your vacation time. Exorbitant fuel costs dominated 2022, but gasoline is now cheaper in New Jersey than prices last holiday season.
It’s not a Christmas miracle, nor have oil executives’ hearts grown three sizes. A combination of factors — including low demand, greater supply, and ongoing market fears of an economic slowdown — have pushed New Jersey gas closer to and sometimes below $3 a gallon, according to industry experts.
The state average for a standard gallon of gasoline was $3.29 Monday, according to AAA. While that’s above the national average of $3.14, it’s still an improvement over New Jersey fuel costs a year ago, which averaged $3.46, and well below the June 13 record of 5.05 $.
Prices have fallen as the holiday travel season nears its peak. AAA forecast that 113 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for the holidays, making it the third busiest vacation travel time since 2000. However, forecasters expect a significant winter storm to thwart some of those plans.
Sussex County recorded the cheapest average price Monday at $3.19 a gallon, while Somerset County ($3.46) was the most expensive, AAA New Jersey’s map shows.
Twenty states averaged under $3 a gallon, according to the auto club.
“The cost of oil, the main ingredient in gasoline, is in the low-to-mid $70 per barrel range, down $50 from last spring’s peak,” AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said in a statement. “Combined with low seasonal demand, gas prices could fall a little more before leveling off.”
National gas demand fell slightly last week to 8.26 million barrels per day from 8.36 million barrels per day, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This coincides with the start of the winter driving season, when fewer people are on the road due to shorter days and worsening weather, AAA says.
Diesel prices still have some catching up to do. A gallon of diesel cost an average of $3.66 in New Jersey a year ago, but was up to $5.15 on Monday. But according to GasBuddy, that could soon improve.
“While the fall in gasoline may ease, diesel prices have significant catching up to do and could fall another 50 cents or more in the coming weeks,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Fuel prices across the board have plunged back into what more Americans consider normal, which could certainly boost economic sentiment going forward.”