SIDNEY — Gas prices have hit a multi-year low across the country and in the state of Ohio, and experts say they could continue to decline throughout 2016.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the national average for a gallon of gas dropped to $1.91 Saturday, the cheapest average price at the pump since 2009. A year ago, the average national price was about $2.14.
The average price in Ohio is well below the national average this week at $1.76 a gallon, according to fuel analysts like GasBuddy.com. Last year, the state average price per gallon was $1.90; in 2011, it was $4.15.
Ohio drivers are enjoying the 13th least expensive gas prices in the country, not far behind states like Missouri (in first place at $1.66) and Oklahoma ($1.70), AAA reported. In the last week, average prices in Ohio have dropped 16 cents.
In some areas of Shelby and Miami counties, prices have dipped below $1.60 for a gallon of regular gas this week.
According to GasBuddy.com on Sunday in Shelby County, five stations were all selling their gas for $1.52 a gallon. Those stations include Clark, 1301 Wapakoneta Avenue and West Russell Road; Speedway, 1529 Michigan St. near Interstate 75; Fuel Stop, 125 W. Court St.; VP Racing Fuels, 2011 Michigan St., near I-75; and Murphy USA, 2390 Michigan St.
Kroger Gas, 2170 W. Michigan St., Speedway, 1501 St. Marys Road, and Speedway, 1515 N. Main Ave. were all selling gas at $1.53 a gallon. Other prices ranged between $1.54 and $1.57 per gallon.
Gas in Botkins ranged from $1.59 (Gulf) to $1.69 (Marathon) per gallon. Stations in Anna, Marathon, Shell and Speedway, were selling gas for $1.59 per gallon. In Fort Loramie, the prices ranged from $1.74 (Sunoco, 300 W. Main St.) to $1.89 (Sunoco, 6377 State Route 66) per gallon.
On Sunday, in Miami County, GasBuddy.com showed a local low of $1.55 a gallon at the Marathon station located on the corner of Ash Street and Looney Road in Piqua. Prices at other Piqua stations listed on the site ranged between $1.57 and $159 per gallon.
As good as that is, analysts say that the price of gas could drop even further over the course of the year.
Experts predict that Americans will spend about $17 billion less on gasoline in the year ahead.
Consumers saved $134 billion on gasoline in 2015 versus what was paid for gas in 2014, GasBuddy reported.
Nationally, the price of a gallon of regular averaged $3.60 for all of 2012, $1.64 more than it is right now. For 2016 as a whole, experts like GasBuddy are forecasting a country-wide average of $2.28 per gallon, down from $2.40 in 2015.
Gasoline prices are driven mostly by factors like oil prices, proximity to refineries, refinery capacity and state taxes and levies.