- There goes the bank. (Photo: flickr/kevinspencer)
Can it be? A automotive miracle has occurred — AAA's mid-Atlantic branch is reporting a drop in gas prices ... and one that may continue until we see what now seems like a breathtaking three bucks a gallon. But don't get too excited yet.
AAA reports that the national average gas price dropped to $3.45 this past Friday and to $3.42 as of October 2 — a low we haven't seen in about seven months now (sidenote: how depressing is it that we now see $3.45 as a low gas price? Compared to what we once experienced even a year ago, that's outlandishly high ... then again, at least it's a more accurate reflection of oil's cost. Just look at Europe's prices!). The drop reflects lower prices nationally. As AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson John Townsend said in a statement from earlier today: "Not since March of this year have we seen the national average gas price below $3.50 per gallon." Naturally enough, this shift happens right as summer and the season of road trips begins to come to a close. Alas. Freedom is the open road? Not even, anymore. These roads have become congested, and the gas to drive on them is leaving us bankrupt.
In D.C., a gallon of cost cost an average of $3.55 yesterday. A year ago, that would have cost you a mere $2.79. AAA says American consumers are likely to spend more on gas this year than ever before: $490 billion in all the 12 months with about $1.3 billion spent every day.
Just think of other uses and investment we could be spending that money on. How did transportation get so expensive? Thankfully, the majority of the District's residents don't need to rely on cars to get them to work. But these problems add to the greater issues the U.S. faces in its dependence on oil, which the U.S. Department of Energy called "the greatest immediate threat to U.S. economic and national security" last week.
The only consolation is that AAA's experts believe gas prices "could flirt with $3.00 per gallon by the end of this quarter, however, they caution that gas prices will likely rebound in early 2012." See the averages broken down for the District and its metro area, with comparison prices from a year ago, in this chart from AAA:
- (Photo: AAA)