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Summer gas prices hit 12-year low

By IVY KELLER • Jul 26, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Good news for drivers and tourists across the country: gas prices are at their lowest national cost during summer months since 2004. People are paying an average of $2.18 per gallon across the country.

These prices couldn’t come at a better time. July in northern Ohio is the height of tourist season and that means millions of people driving around the state to visit Cedar Point, Put-in-Bay and other tourist destinations. Lower prices at the pump may let more people take trips they wouldn’t otherwise.

In Norwalk, prices are even lower than the state average at $2.07 and $2.08 as of Friday. The lowest price in Ohio was $1.73 in West Columbus, while some stations charged up to $2.79.

Ohio’s average gallon is 34 cents cheaper than last month and 48 cents cheaper than last year.

AAA motor club officials believe the price drop is due in large part to the increasing amount of crude oil in the U.S. and the simple economics of supply and demand.

“U.S. crude oil supplies are about 13 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline stocks have increased to 240 million barrels as refineries produce significant quantities of fuel,” Cindy Antrican, AAA public affairs manager, said. “The current situation in the U.S., with the abundance of crude oil supplies, answers the basic economics equation of the laws of supply and demand.”

Crude oil prices have been on the downslide since 2014 — closing below $27 a barrel in January, their lowest price in over 10 years.

They rebounded to $44.75 by July 21, still a far cry from the $80, $90 and $100 prices seen between 2011 and 2014 as the economy was recovering from the US financial crisis and the stock market crash of 2008.

Although the falling prices may not be good news for shareholders, they favor anyone looking to take a road trip or vacation. Thirty-five dollars to fill up a 17-gallon tank is a relief from the $50 or so it took when gas prices were $3 and above. With cheaper fuel, families are able to travel more.

The numbers seem to reflect this. Tourism in Ohio has grown in the past few years, with the number of tourists visiting rising nearly seven million between 2014 and 2015 according to TourismOhio — a 27 percent increase since 2011.  

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Dayton Daily News reporter, Grant Pepper, (TNS) contributed to this story.

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