Drivers may see the cheapest average fall gasoline prices since the year President Barack Obama was first elected, and home-heating fuel prices could be setting up for another 16-year low.
Absent a spike in oil prices, the glut of refined products is creating a bonus for consumers, with gasoline inventories in the Gulf Coast area at the highest level since 2013 and diesel, including heating oil, at 2010 levels nationally, according to John Kilduff of Again Capital.
"It's the autumn of consumers' content," said Kilduff.
Gasoline prices at the pump are currently an average $2.18 per gallon, according to AAA. That compares with $2.33 a year ago, but $2.12 per gallon a month ago. Prices are expected to continue to drift lower, however, and surpass the lows of last year.
"I would just say gasoline prices are likely to fall another 5 to 10 cents a gallon over the next several weeks, and the national average should actually approach $2 and $2.05 a gallon over the next few months," said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.
A main reason fuel is so cheap is because the giant glut of U.S. crude oil has turned into a glut of refined products. The latest U.S. government weekly data Wednesday revealed a surprise draw in oil inventories of 559,000 barrels, but a big build of 4.6 million barrels of diesel and 600,000 barrels of gasoline.
"For this time of year, since the financial crisis, with no question [it's the cheapest gasoline]. I just don't think we're going to get as low as we did last February," said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service. "When the president got sworn in, it was around an average of about $1.69."
The period of cheap gasoline in late 2008 came in the thick of the financial crisis and after a period of high crude prices. Lehman Brothers collapsed and the economy was collapsing. Gasoline at the beginning of autumn, in late September, was $3.75 per gallon for unleaded gasoline at the pump, according to OPIS data. It was an average $2.39 per gallon on election day, Nov. 4, and by Dec. 15, it was $1.65 per gallon.
"I still put it at 50/50 that we get to a national average of $2, but I do think the average person will be able to buy it for less than $2," said Kloza.