Some of you may have pulled into a gas station recently and been shocked at the sticker prices for fuel. According to the Automobile Association of America, today marks the 25th consecutive day of average U.S. gas prices staying below $2 a gallon – and the outcome looks good that that may not only remain steady, but even get lower throughout the winter.
This is the lowest prices have been since January 2009, and it doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. Crude oil supply seems to be constantly surging over demand, causing a decreases in the prices of oil and, therefore, gasoline.
Drivers in just 11 states and Washington, D.C. are paying above the national average, with California comfortably taking the crown at a still-reasonable $2.67/gallon. This is typically the case though, as California requires a special proprietary blend of their fuel to match their staunch regulatory emissions standards put forth to combat its past issues with air pollution.
This chart, from AAA, gives a look at the rest of the “high-priced” states:
What Do These Prices Mean for Drivers?
It looks like this winter, filling up your vehicle is going to be considerably lighter on your wallet – but it can also have an affect on driver safety.
Back in December, AAA of the Carolinas stated that sharp decline in gas prices typically leads to an increase of drivers on the road – and an increase of cars, congestion, and chance of accidents. Indeed, this holiday season saw record numbers of travelers driving in cars to see friends and family. This winter, we may just see the same increased willingness to drive due to the low cost of fuel.
And low gas prices not only make more people willing to drive – they also make them willing to drive less sensibly. As the price to fill up decreases, so too does a driver’s mentality to be fuel efficient on the road – and this may not necessarily translate to safe driving practices as well. Hard accelerations, hard braking, and speeding may become more prevalent as gas becomes a cheap commodity.
Be careful on the roads, maintain your driver safety principles, and practice proper driver awareness. There may be an increase in drivers on the road, and there’s no guarantee that any of them will be any good.
Of course, if you’re in the East Coast, you simply shouldn’t be out on the roads anyway, unless you’re manning a dogsled or a snowplow.