Holiday pump prices in Arkansas fall below $1.80 per gallon, national prices at $2

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 347 views 

Arkansas and U.S. motorists will receive the gift of extra cash this holiday season as the national price for regular unleaded gasoline falls below the two-dollar mark for the first time in six Christmases, according to the AAA and the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

On Monday (Dec. 21), U.S. average gas prices dropped below $2 per gallon this morning for the first time since March 25, 2009, according to AAA. Tuesday’s national average price of gas ratcheted by up to $2.005 per gallon, but AAA estimates that cheaper gas prices have saved Americans more than $115 billion on gasoline this year, which works out to more than $550 per licensed driver.

“Drivers across the country are celebrating the historic return of cheaper gas prices,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s President and CEO. “The lowest gas prices in nearly seven years are a holiday gift that few consumers could have imagined when gasoline was $4 a gallon.”

More than two-thirds of U.S. stations already are selling gas under $2 per gallon, and drivers can find at least one station selling gas for less than that price in 47 states. The most common price nationwide is $1.899 per gallon. The national average price of gas is about 41 cents less than a year ago.

Gas prices have dropped because there is more than enough oil and gasoline supplies around the world to meet demand, according to EIA. In addition, gas prices generally fall through early winter because people drive and use less fuel this time of year.

“We have witnessed a dramatic shift in gas prices that has saved families hundreds of dollars so far this year,” said Doney. “The best news of all is that there is room for prices to drop even more in the coming weeks.”

The lowest one percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for an average of $1.59 per gallon, and more than 13,000 stations are selling gas for less than $1.75 per gallon. The states with the cheapest averages include: Missouri ($1.77), Oklahoma ($1.78), South Carolina ($1.78), Tennessee ($1.79) and Kansas ($1.79). Kansas City, Missouri has the cheapest metro average in the country at $1.68 per gallon.

Arkansas pump prices were well below the national average with many in the state able to fill up for about $1.78 per gallon. For example, pump prices in the state’s metropolitan areas range from a low of $1.68 and $1.69 per gallon in Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith area, respectively, to a high of $1.84 per gallon in Pine Bluff. Motorists on both sides of the Texarkana state line are seeing prices at an average of $1.79 per gallon, and most signs in the Little Rock metropolitan area are posting average pump prices at about $1.81 per gallon.

Drivers choosing to fill up the tanks with a higher-grade of gasoline should expect to pay an average premium of $2.14 a gallon across the state. Big rig drivers and other diesel fuel users will see pump prices at about $1.91 a gallon, down from $2.82 per gallon from a year ago. According to, there are several gas stations in the Fort Smith, Siloam Springs and Fayetteville that are posting pump prices as low as $1.53 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

The low gas prices will propel more than 100 million Americans plan to travel 50 miles or more during the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday period, the first time year-end holiday traffic will top that mark, AAA said. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, December 23, 2015 to Sunday, January 3, 2016.

More than 90% of travelers (91.3 million people) will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 1.4% over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.7%, with 5.8 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.4% to 3.4 million travelers.

According to the Arkansas Highway Department, there are only 11 miles of actual lane closures on major interstates and highways across the state during the holiday, the same as the Thanksgiving weekend. Traffic will funnel down to one lane for four miles on Interstate 30 in Benton County to westbound travelers, and for seven miles on both sides of I-530 in Jefferson County between Little Rock and Pine Bluff.

There are other projects where concrete barriers and orange highway barrels may slow traffic on I-40 in Central Arkansas and other areas of the state, officials said, but those areas should only experience minimal delays that should not dramatically interrupt travel times. Drivers can find on their mobile devices before and during traveling this Christmas holiday weekend to map out the extensive highway construction projects across the state.