Gas stations have an early Christmas present for American road-trippers. With gas becoming cheaper by the day, the national average has officially slipped below $2 a gallon for the first time in more than six years.
The milestone reflects a long slump in oil prices that has brought significant savings at the pump. According to AAA data, Monday’s average is 41 cents cheaper than the same day a year ago. Americans have saved more than $115 billion on gas this year, or $550 for every licensed driver.
“The best news of all is that there is room for prices to drop even more in the coming weeks,” AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney said in a statement.
AAA said Monday it estimated a U.S. average of $1.998 a gallon, the first glimpse of sub-$2 gas since March 25, 2009. Two-thirds of all gas stations in the country are now selling gas for $1.99 a gallon or less, and the most popular price is $1.899 a gallon.
Drivers in certain areas are seeing even bigger savings. Gas costs an average of $1.59 a gallon at the cheapest 1% of gas stations. The states with the lowest gas prices are Missouri and Oklahoma, where state averages sit near $1.77 to start the work week.
More than 91 million Americans are expected to drive at least 50 miles for the holidays, AAA said.
GasBuddy.com calculated a sub-$2 national average slightly earlier on Dec. 19. Its live ticking average on Monday morning was $1.995, 8.8 cents cheaper than a month ago.
The website noted that even though gas prices have been in retreat for over a year, the U.S. average has come up short of $1.99 a gallon because of slower declines in the West.