Colin Bolser normally shells out close to $30 to fill up his Ford Taurus, but on Friday afternoon the bill came to less than $20.
“I definitely would like to see [those prices] stay around,” the Robbinsdale resident said outside the Mobil station where gas was going for $1.41 a gallon.
The price of gas in Minnesota isn’t just a bargain right now — it’s at the lowest it has ever been, after factoring in inflation.
Friday’s average price statewide was $1.43. According to Inflationdata.com, the lowest recorded inflation-adjusted price for gas nationwide was $1.48 per gallon in 1998.
That compares with $2.36 a gallon last month when measured in constant dollars, the website said, and $2.31 in 1931. (The 1931 price at the pump was 17 cents a gallon.)
At some filling stations across the Twin Cities on Friday, gas was as low as $1.28 a gallon. Prices in the metro averaged $1.45, according to AAA, with the high price of $1.99 a gallon coming at a station in South St. Paul, according to twincitiesgasprices.com.
Some lucky motorists in other Midwestern states saw the per gallon price flirting with 99 cents earlier this week. But even at the national average of $1.69 per gallon, according to AAA, gas was at bargain-basement prices Friday and considerably lower than a year ago, when the national average was $2.23 per gallon.
While gas prices continued their downward trend this week, they may have hit their low, analysts said.
Wholesale prices tumbled on Monday and Tuesday, falling 18 cents. The drop translated to the pump, where prices also fell. But Wednesday, wholesale prices jumped by 30 cents to end the week higher.
Prices may start rising slowly in coming days, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.
“The jump took us from the seventh-inning stretch to the top of the ninth regarding this price decline,” DeHaan said. “I’d not be surprised if we saw gas stop dropping in price and some of the stations at the low end might increase prices.”
With a glut of oil on the market, refiners have begun to cut back on production to address an oversupply of winter grade gas.
This also is the time of year when refineries begin conducting annual spring maintenance and begin making the switch to the summer blend of gas, which is more costly to produce. Additionally, demand for gas begins to pick up in February, typically setting the stage for a price increase.
Even if gas prices rise, DeHaan said prices should remain reasonable throughout the spring and summer. Even then, he said, it might be three to four years yet before prices come close to the all-time Minnesota high of $4.27 a gallon, set in May 2013.