Gasoline prices averaged $3.5454 per gallon in the United States on Nov. 2, down 20.75 cents from Oct.19 when drivers were paying $3.7529 at the pump, Lundberg said. The decline was the biggest two-week price drop since the survey recorded a 21.9 cents price decline Dec. 5, 2008 due to a crash in petroleum demand during the global recession.
In Chicago, gas prices averaged $3.599 Sunday, down a penny from last week, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge report. Prices are down 10 percent from a month ago when regular gasoline averaged $4.01 in the Chicago area.
Even though many people had to line up for gasoline for hours after Sandy devastated much of the Northeast coast, the storm played a part in the price decline as many would-be consumers were not able to travel as a result, according Trilby Lundberg, editor of the Lundberg Survey.
Lundberg also cited the seasonal dip in demand that typically comes after August.
While demand appeared to be very high for gasoline in New York and New Jersey after the storm, Lundberg said that purchases were down because many people could not get to fuel.
However, supply shortages were not causing an increase in the average price of gasoline, according Lundberg.
“There is a fear among retailers that they will be accused and prosecuted for price gouging if they raise prices enough to prevent running out,” she said, adding that the problems would be unlikely to end soon.
“It’s going to be a long and hard recovery for infrastructure and fuel supply but also for fuel demand,” Lundberg said.
Another reason for the total U.S. price decline in the latest survey is California, the biggest state consumer, where pump prices fell 49 cents in past two weeks after an extreme price increase a month ago because of refinery problems.
The November 2 survey shows that gas prices have fallen a total of 29.21 cents in the last month, Lundberg said.
The highest prices for regular gasoline recorded in the November 2 survey were in San Francisco at $4.05 a gallon, while drivers in Memphis, Tennessee were paying the least at $3.11 per gallon.
7:41 a.m. CST, November 5, 2012