Why New Jersey Could See Gas Prices Dip Under $1.75
The price of gasoline across the United States has been dropping consistently since hitting a national peak for this year on May 24, and one expert in the Garden State expects prices to remain at their current low levels, or to decrease even further, between now and the end of 2016.
"I think New Jersey will have an episode where you'll be able to buy gasoline, fairly easily, for less than $1.75," said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service.
He said such a price can even be found right now if a motorist has an app that tracks the lowest gas prices — and is willing to go a little bit out of the way.
The one caveat to continued low prices, Kloza said, would be tropical weather activity. A significant disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean can impact oil production. And at $44 dollars per barrel currently, crude oil is undervalued in comparison with its projected price for the rest of this decade.
"I think next year things start to change, and through the rest of the decade they change, but 2016 is almost etched in stone as a cheap year that will end on a cheap note," he said.
In fact, at the moment, drivers find themselves benefiting from the cheapest year for gas since 2004, according to Kloza. The current, national per-gallon average is $2.15, 60 cents cheaper than at this point in 2015. In New Jersey that figure is even lower, at $1.97.
After Aug. 1 of last year, prices continued to drop, and Kloza predicts the same thing will happen this year.
If prices do go up, it would more than likely be the result of Trenton lawmakers finally passing a gas tax increase to help refill the Transportation Trust Fund.
But even a hike in that range, Kloza said, would still leave New Jersey with lower prices than state motorists are used to this time of year, with gas regularly hitting the $3 per gallon mark around Labor Day in recent years.
"Probably, one could make a good case for raising the price and not having a tremendous impact on local merchants and things like that," he said.
Kloza did add that 2017 and beyond look to be "remarkably different," and if you use oil to heat your home, you may want to take advantage of the cheap prices right now, even at the height of the summer heat.
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