Gas prices stun analysts: July 4 lower than Jan. 1

Talk about fireworks.

For the first time its 17-year history, consumer data tool GasBuddy is projecting that gasoline prices will be lower on the Fourth of July than they were on New Year’s Day.

The seasonal switcheroo is a result of crude oil’s unexpected price decline in 2017 caused by a global glut of petroleum, whichisn’t going away anytime soon.

For drivers, that translates into unforeseen savings just in time for the heart of the summer travel season.

GasBuddy is projecting a nationwide average of $2.21 per gallon on July 4, which would be 12 cents lower than the price at the year’s inception. That’s also the lowest price on Independence Day since 2005.

It’s “quite the dramatic turnaround” after previous projections that gasoline would near $3 per gallon this summer, GasBuddy petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said.


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Americans save$4 million per day for every 1 cent drop, DeHaan said. “It really adds up.”

At least one station in 35 states is already offering gas for less than $2 per gallon.

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Gas is typically 47 cents more expensive on July 4 than on the previous Jan. 1, according to GasBuddy. The usual variation is largely due to lower demand in the wintertime.

“A fundamental principle of the way gas prices work is you never see gas prices lower on the largest, most popular summer driving holiday than you do on New Year’s Day,” DeHaan said “For anybody who would have told you that’s true, you’d probably think they belong in an asylum.”

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Prices have been diving for several weeks as global oil prices contract. Nationwide prices were averaging $2.26 on Tuesday afternoon, down 11.8 cents from a month earlier.

The U.S. energy industry has continued pumping oil and natural gas at a steady clip, keeping supplies high despite an effort by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to boost prices through production cuts.

The price of West Texas Intermediate oil, the U.S. benchmark crude, has been trading in the $42 to $44 range over the last week.Less than a month ago, oil was trading above $50 and experts were projecting prices of $60 to $70 later this year. That now looks unlikely.

DeHaan said gas prices probably already peaked for the year, barring a major hurricane that disrupts U.S. refineries.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.


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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 14:  2015 Playmate of the Year J.D. Power has named the top models for quality in the first 90 days of ownership. they are, starting with the sporty car, the Mini Cooper, seen here as the convertible version  Charley Gallay, Getty Images for PlayboyFullscreenTop small car: Chevrolet Sonic hatchback Top small car: Chevrolet Sonic hatchback  GM, WieckFullscreenTop small premium car: BMW 2 Series Top small premium car: BMW 2 Series  BMWFullscreenTop compact car: Kia Forte Top compact car: Kia Forte  Bruce BenedictFullscreenTop multi-purpose vehicle: Kia Soul Top multi-purpose vehicle: Kia Soul  Bruce BenedictFullscreenTop compact premium car: BMW 4 Series Top compact premium car: BMW 4 Series  Jamie Rector, for USA TODAYFullscreenTop midsize car: Toyota Camry Top midsize car: Toyota Camry  ToyotaFullscreenTop midsize sporty model: Ford Mustang Top midsize sporty model: Ford Mustang  FordFullscreenTop minivan: Chrysler Pacifica Top minivan: Chrysler Pacifica  TONY DING, APFullscreenTop midsize premium car: Lexus GS Top midsize premium car: Lexus GS  Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free PressFullscreenTop premium sporty car: Porsche 911 Top premium sporty car: Porsche 911  Christian Petersen, Getty ImagesFullscreenTop large car: Kia Cadenza Top large car: Kia Cadenza  KiaFullscreenTop small SUV: Kia Niro Top small SUV: Kia Niro  GREG JAREMFullscreenTop small premium SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLA Top small premium SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLA  Jae C. Hong, APFullscreenTop compact SUV: GMC Terrain Top compact SUV: GMC Terrain  GMCFullscreenTop premium SUV: Porsche Macan Top premium SUV: Porsche Macan  Jamie Rector, for USA TODAYFullscreenTop midsize SUV: Kia Sorento Top midsize SUV: Kia Sorento  GREG JAREMFullscreenTop premium midsize SUV: BMW X6 Top premium midsize SUV: BMW X6  BMWFullscreenTop midsize pickup: Nissan Frontier Top midsize pickup: Nissan Frontier  NissanFullscreenTop large SUV: Ford Expedition Top large SUV: Ford Expedition  FordFullscreenTop large premium SUV: Infiniti QX80 Top large premium SUV: Infiniti QX80  InfinitiFullscreenLarge heavy-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD Large heavy-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD  ChevroletFullscreenTop large light-duty SUV: Chevrolet Silverado Top large light-duty SUV: Chevrolet Silverado  ChevroletFullscreenLike this topic? You may also like these photo galleries:ReplayBEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 14:  2015 Playmate of the Year1 of 23Top small car: Chevrolet Sonic hatchback2 of 23Top small premium car:  BMW 2 Series3 of 23Top compact car: Kia Forte4 of 23Top multi-purpose vehicle: Kia Soul5 of 23Top compact premium car: BMW 4 Series6 of 23Top midsize car: Toyota Camry7 of 23Top midsize sporty model: Ford Mustang8 of 23Top minivan: Chrysler Pacifica9 of 23Top midsize premium car: Lexus GS10 of 23Top premium sporty car: Porsche 91111 of 23Top large car: Kia Cadenza12 of 23Top small SUV: Kia Niro13 of 23Top small premium SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLA14 of 23Top compact SUV: GMC Terrain15 of 23Top premium SUV: Porsche Macan16 of 23Top midsize SUV: Kia Sorento17 of 23Top premium midsize SUV: BMW X618 of 23Top midsize pickup: Nissan Frontier19 of 23Top large SUV: Ford Expedition20 of 23Top large premium SUV: Infiniti QX8021 of 23Large heavy-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD22 of 23Top large li ght-duty SUV: Chevrolet Silverado23 of 23AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide

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