Twin Cities gas prices keep falling, with prices as low as $3.11 per gallon spotted in Richfield, Minn., on Thursday, Oct. 25. The lowest prices at gas stations in neighboring Bloomington, Minn., ranged from $3.12 to $3.14.
The week started with a 17-cent price drop to a Twin Cities-wide average of $3.51 per gallon on Sunday, Oct. 21. The national average decreased 14.2 cents per gallon during the same time.
GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said May 2011 was the last time the United States saw such a dramatic drop in gas prices.
Analysts expect that prices will continue to drop as gas futures continue their two-week decline, saying prices could bottom out around the end of the year -- possibly below the $3 mark.
Oil Price Information Services surveys about 120,000 gas stations each day. Among the latest findings:
Some have speculated whether the close proximity to the election has anything to do with the dip in pump prices, but Patrick Dehann, a petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com, says that's not so.
"Gas prices are not related to the presidency at all," he said. "In fact, no president has direct control over how prices are determined."
While there are a lot of factors that affect prices, Dehann says much of it is simply the rule of supply and demand with the extra factor of competition.
"Prices are virtually never the same for two gas stations, so almost every station is paying a different price for its gasoline and prices can vary significantly day to day," he said.
So why are prices dropping now? Dehann says the switch from summer to winter gasoline is a factor because winter fuel is cheaper to produce.
OPIS figures and survey findings from the Associated Press were used in this report.