Gas prices go down in time for the holidays

BALA CYNWYD - December 5, 2011

The good news for drivers is that prices on average are lower today than they were a week or even a month ago.

The big question is - how long will that good news last?

Check gas prices in your area.

19-year-old Mark Kvalsvik is one driver definitely welcoming the lower prices.

"This week they're going down a little bit and for a car like mine that is a good thing," said Kvalsvik.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.35 in the five-county Philadelphia region, $3.11 in southern New Jersey and $3.21 in Delaware.

That's down a couple of cents from last week's average and 13 to 23 cents per gallon cheaper than a month ago.

The prices at the pump are dropping even though crude oil prices are rising and the reason is the demand for gas reaching its lowest levels in the past ten years.

"The demand is just really down. We saw pretty much over the last three years people driving less," said Jenny Robinson of AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Part of the low demand is seasonal. People tend to drive less in winter than summer.

Part of it is also due to technology. Think about how many more people are shopping online instead of driving to the mall?

Another part also stems from an ongoing change in many people's minds about how often and how far they choose to drive.

"You think more about how many trips you are going to make," said Leonard Pavel.

"I feel like I have to drive a certain amount no matter what but I think twice about having to go," said Susan Watts.

AAA's analysts say, barring any unexpected world events, gas prices will likely stay within a few cents of where they are now into the beginning of next year.

However as soon as the weather starts to get warmer, drivers be warned.

"Come next spring then we could see prices shoot up quite a bit even to $4 a gallon possibly," said Robinson.

The analysts say that after the holidays, gas prices are likely to bottom out at a time when we're likely to get snow and do a minimum amount of driving.

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