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NATIONAL REPORT — How low can they go? When it comes to gas prices, motorists in two dozen states are finding out the answer is: pretty low.
According to USA Today, gas prices in many places in the middle of the country are below $2 per gallon, with Missouri boasting the cheapest prices at the pump in the United States.
"As of [Dec. 19], there are 24 states with prices under $2 a gallon. But Missouri is lowest," said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy's senior petroleum analyst. Some gas stations in Springfield, Mo., were selling fuel for as low as $1.96 per gallon of regular.
Prices will continue to drop for a while, DeHaan told the news outlet. "It's not guaranteed, of course. But we think they'll drop a little more, 5 to 15 cents a gallon," he said.
AAA travel analysts estimate that current gas prices, which are at their lowest since 2008, are likely to drop as much as 7 cents by Christmas and possibly 7 more cents by New Year's Day.
However, not all motorists will get the same break at the pump. Because of higher fuel taxes, some states won't crack the $2 barrier, DeHaan said.
Citing data from the American Petroleum Institute, the report explained that 13 states— many in the South— have fuel taxes less than 40 cents a gallon. Seventeen states' gas taxes are more than 50 cents a gallon. California, New York and Hawaii rank among the highest levies. Alaska has the lowest at 30.8 cents per gallon.
In Chicago, where DeHaan is based, the price of regular unleaded was $2.74 a gallon. Illinois' gas tax is 57.5 cents a gallon vs. 35.7 cents in Missouri.
"I wish, but it's not going to happen," DeHaan said of $2 gas in the Chicago area. "There's no way oil producers would continue producing at 99 cents a gallon. At that price, it's more expensive for them to just pump the oil."
Still, prices below $2 are possible in some high-tax states. Some CITGO stations in western Michigan, where taxes are 57.43 cents of the per-gallon price, have dipped below $2, according to USA Today.