Gas cheaper than previously feared, and expected to hold steady

By Richard Holton on July 21 at 1:03pm

Contrary to previous fears, gas prices in Jacksonville have done nothing but drop for the last month.

The current low price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Jacksonville is $3.29. That’s 58 cents lower than it was on June 16th. The price had been decreasing steadily since April, but the trend had reversed itself last month.

Patrick DeHaan with explains the reason it’s so difficult to predict what the price of gas will do.

“They had been going down to begin the month of June, and then the situation with Iraq hit, and then prices jumped about 10 cents a gallon. Since that the Iraq situation has kind of let off, and we have seen other situations coming and developing. Meanwhile Libya is looking to boost oil exports; that’s helping put downward pressure on oil prices. The U.S. continues to see very high levels of crude oil being produced here domestically, in fact among the highest amount of oil production we have seen in the last 25 to 30 years. So stars kind of aligning here in midsummer, and the relief that we expected to begin in the middle of June is finally starting to show up.”

There are a number of factors that go into figuring out gas prices, but DeHaan says there is no immediate threat to gas prices skyrocketing.

“Certainly some situations we are monitoring, prices probably aren’t going to go a whole lot lower. There do come some risks in August as well, hurricane season can have some impact on oil production and thus prices. Not only the middle east or perhaps Russia, but what happens with hurricane season. Barring any sort of major storm or Geo-political tensions, we should see prices remaining, I would say, within about 10 cents of where they are today. If there is a hurricane or some unforeseen event, prices could go a little bit higher just depending on what it is. But for the time being in the next week or two, prices may hold relatively steady.”

The Illinois average for a gallon of gas is $3.62. That compares to the national average of $3.56.

A year ago, Illinois drivers were paying an average of $3.94 per gallon.