Greater Alton motorists are reaping the benefits of falling gas prices.
According to the website GasBuddy.com, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in Madison County on Tuesday, Dec. 16, was $2.40. In Illinois, the average price was $2.54 per gallon, down 72.9 cents from last year’s average of $3.27. In Missouri, the average price was $2.21 per gallon, down 69.4 cents from last year’s average of $2.90. Nationwide, the average price was $2.51 per gallon, down 73 cents from last year's average of $3.24.
Patrick DeHaan, a GasBuddy.com petroleum specialist in Chicago, said in an email that falling prices are a result of disarray in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, an international organization of oil-producing nations that includes Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
DeHaan said some of OPEC’s members want higher prices and others want to cut prices by boosting oil production. Saudi Arabia is losing market share because of increased domestic production in the United States, up from 5 million barrels per day seven years ago to a current level of 9 million barrels per day.
“I would say the trend lower should continue as long as oil prices continue to decline,” DeHaan said. “Illinois could soon see a state average of $2.45 per gallon, and it may drop further depending on oil prices.”