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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans saved a total of $65 billion for the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period last year thanks to lower gas prices, reported AAA. This equates to an average savings of $530 per household.
The national average on Tuesday was $2.77 per gallon, the lowest average since 2010 and about 91 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago.
Gas prices have averaged $2.45 per gallon this year, the cheapest average price for the first six months of the year since 2009. Gas prices averaged $3.52 during the first six months of 2014.
“It is much easier for a driver to take a summer road trip knowing that they have saved hundreds of dollars on gas so far this year,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “The gas savings should continue for the rest of the summer, which could help motivate millions of Americans to travel.”
The national average gas price is expected to remain less than $3 per gallon this year, but there is "considerable uncertainty regarding the future direction of gas prices," the trade organization added. For the remainder of July, AAA expects gas prices to remain flat or possibly drop as gasoline production increases to take advantage of high profit margins, seen by many convenience store operators in recent months.
"Drivers are hoping that history repeats last year’s dramatic selloff in gas prices during the second half of the summer,” said Ash. “There is real possibility that gas prices will drop this month as millions of Americans hit the roads for their summer vacation.”
As for the rest of the summer, fuel demand is expected to be the key factor determining whether gas prices increase or drop. July and August are often the two months with the highest level of driving.
In the fall, U.S. fuel demand generally drops, often leading to lower gas prices.
As is always the case, unexpected events could cause gas prices to spike at any time. Such events include geopolitical unrest in the Middle East, problems at refineries or strong Atlantic hurricanes that disrupt refinery production.
Conversely, two international events could cause gas prices to drop more, according to AAA. These events are the potential of an Iranian nuclear deal, which could lead to more Iranian crude entering the markets later this autumn, and the possibility of Greek debt defaults, which could weaken the global economy and in turn curtail fuel demand.