Good news for cash-strapped motorists: Gasoline prices are dropping, and consumers could see prices fall to near $3 a gallon before Thanksgiving.
Just this month, prices have fallen an average of 12 cents a gallon in Florida, said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA, the automotive-travel company that daily surveys more than 120,000 gas stations nationwide.
In Orlando, the average price for regular has dipped from $3.40 a month ago to $3.29 on Thursday.
A drop of 10 cents to 25 cents a gallon is common during September, Jenkins said. He attributed the current decrease to the typical fall in demand as summer ends and vacation driving falls off; a quiet hurricane season that has not disrupted supplies; refineries switching to their cheaper winter blend of fuel; and President Barack Obama backing off on his threat to bomb Syria.
"All the elements are in place to continue falling," Jenkins said.
The dip has been welcome to Sue Shaw, who lives in southeast Osceola County and drives 52 miles to work in Maitland. That's a 104-mile round trip each day.
"It's wonderful," Shaw said of the price decline. "I love it."
The 42-year-old environmental scientist recently purchased a Ford Fusion hybrid car to cut her gas bills. She figures she is already saving close to $100 a week on fuel with the new car, and less-expensive gas will only add to her bank account.
Jenkins speculated that gas prices could fall to near $3 a gallon, barring unforeseen circumstances such as a late hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico or a catastrophe in the Middle East's oil-producing region.
But do not look for gas to drop below $3. Florida has not seen sub-$3 gas in more than 1,000 days.
"I don't want to say it could" go below $3, Jenkins said, "but I don't want to say it can't."
Once Thanksgiving rolls around, Jenkins said, prices are likely to rise again as people turn to their cars for holiday visits to friends and relatives, and as those who live up North fire up their furnaces.
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