With the OPEC members and Saudi Arabia keeping the pumps going even with the oil prices steadily dipping, US drivers had saved a neat little pile of money on their gasoline spends last year. 2015 turned out to be a pain-free fill-up year with the global markets witnessing massive stockpiles of crude. The New Year 2016 is not expected to be far too different and the prices could either remain constant at the present levels or move further down across the year.
The cumulative amount of money saved by Americans is a decent $115 billion plus across 2015 on their visits to the gas station. An average licensed driver gained over $550 which is adequate to take care one or two lease payments. The average price per gallon of gas never breached the $3 mark throughout 2015 in December; it even dipped below the $2 mark, which is the first time since 2009.
With nearly 71% gas stations selling gas at less than $2 a gallon and some 16,000 station charging even $1.75, your road trips for the New Year has been less burdensome on fuel costs. However, in California, Washington, Nevada and Alaska gas prices still hover around $2.47 a gallon or more.
Unplanned maintenance at some of the major refineries has also led to Californians paying significantly more than others for their gasoline. But compared to 2014, the average price in that state was cheaper by 63 cents at $3.16. On the other hand, Southeast stands to gain most from the lower gas prices.
According to AAA estimates across 2016, gas prices will average between $2.25 and $2.45 a gallon which is cheaper or comparable to the 2015 average of $2.40. Some industry analysts predict that the huge surplus seen in the oil markets will be trimmed if US producers resort to cutbacks, and that could help the oil prices to move up. But, we should also remember that oil prices are global in character and Iran could potentially add to the stockpile exerting further pressure on prices. Until recently, Iran was unable to ship out its oil due to the sanctions. These sanctions have now been eased.
In November, a two-day conference in Tehran, about 50 major gas, oil and petrochemical projects has been introduced. The fine print promises more for the oil consumers in the year ahead. But, for the oil producing nations, it adds to the gloom and nations like Nigeria, Venezuela and Russia are indeed heading for serious strain on their economy.