Gas Prices Hit Lowest Levels Since April 2009

A Sunoco Inc. Fueling Station As Gas Is Surprise Holiday Gift For U.S. Consumers This Year
Bloomberg via Getty Images

By Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK -- The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States fell 27 cents in the past three weeks, falling to its lowest level since April 2009, according to the Lundberg survey released Sunday.

Prices for regular grade gasoline fell to $2.20 a gallon in the survey dated Jan. 9 from the previous survey on Dec 19.

%VIRTUAL-WSSCourseInline-956%The recent drop has taken prices down more than $1.14 a gallon from the same period a year ago, a move caused by the oil price slump that started in June.

"The crude oil market was the driving force because of the ongoing supply and demand situations," said the survey's publisher, Trilby Lundberg.

U.S. crude futures have halved since the summer on the back of lackluster demand and over-supplied markets. On Friday, both Brent and U.S. crude continued their slide, hitting April 2009 levels and ending down for a seventh straight week.

The highest price within the survey area in the 48 contiguous U.S. states was recorded in San Francisco at $2.66 a gallon, with the lowest in Albuquerque, New Mexico at $1.76.

While both crude and gasoline prices have fallen, the discounts from U.S. refiners would have been deeper if not for the recent spike in ethanol prices, Lundberg added. Refiners are mandated by the government to add a certain amount of biofuel to gasoline and other products.