Chicago Area Gas Prices Dropping, But Still Abnormally High
There’s good news and bad news at the gas pump.
Gas prices in Chicago have dropped 23 cents per gallon over the last 30 days–an approximate 5% decline.
According to ChicagoGasPrices.com, the average price for regular unleaded
gasoline is $4.06 per gallon, down 23 cents a gallon over the past month.
AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report also shows a decline of 23 cents per gallon over the past month in both the city proper and the greater Chicago metro area.
AAA shows area prices averaging $4.04 per gallon while gas is a bit higher within Chicago’s boundaries coming in at $4.25 per gallon.
Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com, the parent of ChicagoGasPrices.com, says a multitude of factors is putting downward pressure on prices.
During the summer regional refineries experienced glitches which took them off line for short periods and a Wisconsin pipeline was shutoff for temporarily due to leakage issues.
“First of all we’ve seen the situation with refineries alleviated,” said DeHaan. “Supply is adequate, demand is down and that’s
allowed prices to cool.”
In addition, as of September 16th, local refineries have begun switching
over from the federally mandated, lower emission, more expensive summer
fuel blend to the cheaper winter blend.
“When we see that happen prices tend to fall,” explains DeHaan. “It’s
hard to put an exact price on it—there’s no magic number—but it’s a five
to 15 cent difference in price (per gallon).”
With the summer travel season over and the switch to the winter blend,
prices are traditionally their lowest for the year.
But despite historical trends and declining prices, gas prices are
significantly higher than last year.
Both ChicagoGasPrices.com and AAA are showing current Chicago area gas prices an average 45 cents per gallon higher than a year ago–around 12% higher. Last year, the two sites were reporting average gas prices between $3.58 and $3.80 per gallon.
“Gas prices, even though they’ve fallen, are really high for this time of
year,” said Mosher. “We’ve just had prolonged prices for so long. September is when prices typically come down but that is not the case this fall.”
Mosher explains traditionally, fuel prices rise faster than they decline
Since fuel prices traditionally rise faster than they decline, when should motorists begin to see gas prices finally decline and stabilize close to normal levels?
“It won’t be until November when we think we’ll see pries start to break,” said Mosher. “It will be several weeks before drivers pocket some of that savings. We think there will be incremental decreases through October.”
Perhaps a vaguely bright spot is that with California gas prices hitting record highs and some gas stations there running out of fuel due to a refinery outage, Chicago has been replaced in the rankings for highest gas prices in the nation by a slew of California cities.