The average price of a gallon of self-serve unleaded gasoline in San Diego County dropped below $2 for the first time since January 2005 today, decreasing 2 cents to $1.985.
The average price is 24.6 cents less than a week ago, $1.056 less than at this time last month, $1.427 less than at this time last year and $2.645 less than the record high of $4.63 set June 19 and the Oil Price Information Service reported.
The average price has fallen for 74 consecutive days, dropping $1.809 over that span, including 4.7 cents from Wednesday to Thursday.
The dropping price reflects lower demand and a steady decline in crude oil prices which is caused by the worldwide economic downturn, and reduced speculation by futures traders, Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California told City News Service.
The price of a barrel of light, sweet crude fell $1.08 today in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange to $52.79, 64 percent less than the record high of $147.27 set July 11.
The tremendous decrease in the price of crude oil is the leading reason for the decrease in the price consumers pay for gasoline.
Crude oil costs account for two-thirds to three-quarters of the price of a gallon of gasoline, said Tupper Hull, director of strategic communications of the Western States Petroleum Association, a trade association representing major oil companies in six Western states.
Nationally, the average price of a gallon of self-serve unleaded gasoline fell 1.1 cents today to $1.835, 75.4 cents less than a month ago, $1.261 less than a year ago and $2.279 less than the record high of $4.114 set July 17.
California's gasoline price is typically among the highest in the nation because of the state's "boutique blend" of fuel designed to reduced polluting emissions, and taxes, according to Marie Montgomery, an Automobile Club of Southern California public relations specialist.