James R. Hanni
AAA vice president public affairs
Kansas Gas prices averaged about 94 cents less than 2014
• While the national average price of regular unleaded gasoline in 2015 was $2.40 per gallon, the second cheapest annual average of the past ten years, the Kansas average was $2.25, the cheapest annual average in Kansas since 2005. This year’s annual Kansas average was 94 cents per gallon less than 2014, a discount on the 2014 average of 29 percent.
• AAA estimates that Americans saved more than $115 billion on gasoline this year compared to 2014, which was an average of more than $550 per licensed driver.
• The Kansas annual average price of gas in recent years was $3.19 (2014), $3.39 (2013), $3.47 (2012), $3.3.42 (2011), $2.70 (2010) and $2.26 (2009).
• The most expensive daily Kansas average of the year was $2.67 per gallon on July 22, while the lowest was $1.75 per gallon on December 28.
• Fuel prices remained relatively low throughout the year due to a worldwide glut in crude oil. There was more than enough oil to meet demand around the world, and that allowed oil prices to drop to the lowest levels since 2005 in Kansas.
Tax prices to close out at $1.76 per gallon
• Today’s Kansas average price of gas is $1.76 per gallon, which is the lowest average for New Year’s Eve since 2008 ($1.53). Today’s average is 24 cents per gallon less than a year ago.
• The Kansas average price for gas in December was $1.81, the lowest December average in Kansas since 2008 ($1.58)
• Gas prices are lower than $2 per gallon in most parts of the country. About 71 percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 per gallon today, and drivers can find at least one station selling gas for less than $2 in 47 states.
• Today, the highest price city average in Kansas is at Johnson ($2.049), and the lowest price city average is at Haven and Hesston ($1.589).  The cheapest one percent of stations in the country are selling gas for an average of $1.56 per gallon, and more than 16,000 stations across the country are selling gas for less than $1.75 per gallon.
• The five states with the lowest average prices today include: Missouri ($1.72), Oklahoma ($1.75), South Carolina ($1.75), Arkansas ($1.75); Tennessee is next at $1.755 and Kansas at $1..759.
• The five states with the highest prices today include: California ($2.85), Hawaii ($2.69), Nevada ($2.51), Washington ($2.47) and Alaska ($2.47).
Drivers May Pay Even Less for Gasoline in 2016
• Gas prices are likely to remain relatively low in 2016. AAA estimates the annual average price of gas in 2016 is likely to end up between $2.25 and $2.45 per gallon, which would be cheaper or at least comparable to this year’s average of $2.40 per gallon.
• Based on typical seasonal trends, the national average price of gas could remain relatively flat or drop another 10 cents per gallon over the next few weeks. By late winter, the national average could rise 50 cents per gallon or more as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance in advance of the busy summer driving season. Despite the likelihood of higher prices by spring, AAA does not expect the national average price of gas to rise above $3 per gallon in 2016.
• Regional gas prices will continue to vary dramatically around the country in 2016. Problems with local refinery production, especially during spring maintenance and the busy summer driving season, could temporarily send regional gas prices much higher than the national average. Just as in 2015, it is possible that some areas could see prices higher than $3 per gallon.
• There is significant uncertainty over the potential cost of crude oil in 2016, though most analysts expect the market will remain oversupplied throughout the year. There currently is a glut of crude oil around the world that has grown faster than demand, and that situation is unlikely to change significantly as Iranian oil enters the marketplace and because the global economy is growing at a relatively weak pace.
• It is possible that gas prices could rise higher than expected if there are significant changes in the oil markets. Some analysts have predicted that low prices will significantly limit oil production in the United States and in other higher-cost production countries, which could allow supply and demand to rebalance by the end of 2016. Alternatively, it also is possible that political events and conflict could unexpectedly disrupt oil production. Either of these possibilities could lead to higher than predicted oil and gasoline prices for Kansas and the rest of the country.