(24/7 WALL ST.) — In some gas stations around the country, the price of a gallon of regular has dropped below $1.42. AAA and GasBuddy, two organizations that follow gasoline prices, say that gasoline prices below $2 will not be unusual in most of the United States. As oil prices fall, and refinery capacity stays strong, the price of gas could reach $1 a gallon in some areas, a level last reached in 1999. As a matter of fact, the entire states of Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Caroline have gas prices that average at or below $1.75.
Gasoline prices are driven mostly by four factors: oil prices, proximity to refineries, refinery capacity and state taxes and levies. Oil prices have dropped below $33 a barrel and continue to collapse. The recent decision by Saudi Arabia to continue to keep its oil exports high essentially has dissolved the OPEC cartel. The decision also has forced the kingdom to chop its 2016 budget. This ongoing supply glut guarantees oversupply of crude. At the same time, slowing national economies in the largest countries, including China, will lower demand. China now tops the list of oil importers, according to the Financial Times, having moved ahead of the United States.