There’s good news for those whose holiday travels will lead them through Georgia from now until Christmas.
“Barring any major events in the Middle East, we still expect that gasoline prices will continue to move lower from now pretty much through December,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.
Though gasoline prices will most likely reach somewhere between $3.05 and $3.10 a gallon in Georgia by Christmas, according to Laskoski, the rate of price decrease is not expected to be as drastic as it has been the past month.
In the last 30 days, Georgia has seen a tremendous drop in prices at the pump, going from an average of $3.60 a gallon to the current average of $3.21.
“That’s even more than what we’ve seen on a national scale, and there’s a number of reasons why I think we’re seeing that,” Laskoski said.
Because Georgia is a beneficiary of Gulf Coast refineries, which have recently been operating at 91 percent capacity, the state has experienced a drop in gas prices and a per gallon price that is lower than the national average.
“Gulf Coast refineries are doing better than any other part of the country,” Laskoski said. “There’s a link between the decrease you’re seeing in Georgia gas prices and the really strong performance we’re seeing from Gulf Coast refineries.”
In comparison, refineries on the east coast have been operating at some of the lowest numbers seen in years as a result of Hurricane Sandy. As of Wednesday, East Coast refineries are operating at 66.4 percent capacity, an improvement from the previous week’s number of 58.5 percent. According to Laskoski, New York currently has the highest gas prices in the nation, a consequence of Hurricane Sandy’s affect on east coast refineries.
Despite the fact that Georgia is benefitting from high-producing refineries, the trend of falling gas prices is not so unique around this time of year.
“At this time of year, we see supply exceed demand, even when you factor in Thanksgiving and Christmas travel,” Laskoski said.