Good news, drivers: Summer gas prices could be the lowest since 2009

April 7, 2015, 10:52 PM UTC
A gas price sign is seen at a Phillips 66 station on Westheimer Road in Houston, Texas
A gas price sign is seen at a Phillips 66 station on Westheimer Road in Houston, Texas December 16, 2014. According to the prices shown in the picture are the lowest in Houston. REUTERS/Daniel Kramer (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS) - RTR4IB9L
Photograph by Daniel Kramer — Reuters

Summer road trips will be cheaper than they’ve been in six years, according to a new government report that predicted low gas prices over the busy vacation season.

A gallon of gasoline will cost an average of $2.45 between now and September, a 32% drop from $3.59 last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

As a result of the cheap fuel, drivers are expected to spend more time on the road. Gasoline consumption will rise 1.6% through the end of summer, the EIA said, the season when Americans generally do most of their driving.

Despite the uptick in consumption, though, the EIA expects gasoline expenditures per U.S. household to be at their lowest levels since 2004, with the average household spending about $700 less than in 2014.

Prices will be lowest in the country’s Gulf Coast states, where the average gallon should cost $2.25. West Coast drivers are expected to pay the most: $2.82 per gallon of regular gas, according to the EIA.

The current average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.38, according to AAA, which said recently that gas prices could fall at some point this summer. Prices at the pump could even dip to near the $2-mark in some areas this summer, AAA said last week.

Gas prices have slowly ticked upward since January 26, which marked the end of a record 123-day decline that started in September. They bottomed out at a nationwide average of $2.03 per gallon, the lowest since 2009.

The drop-off in gas prices mirrored a similar decline in crude oil prices due to a global glut. Oil now sells for about half of what it did early last summer. But prices have edged up from their lowest point over the winter and lifted gasoline prices from their low. Still, American drivers continue to pay more than $1 per gallon less than they did a year ago.