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New year rings in lower gas prices
gas prices
This ARCO is one of a handful of stations in Turlock that offered gas for under $3 a gallon (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

2020 is already starting out on one good note — lower gas prices.

Modesto area gas prices have fallen 4.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.25/g  on Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 201 stations. Gas prices in the Modesto area (which includes Turlock) are 35.7 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 12.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest gas that could be found in Turlock was priced at $2.94/g at Costco on Monday, followed by $2.95/g at the ARCO stations on N. Golden State Boulevard and Lander Avenue. The lowest price in the state on Monday was $2.74/g while the highest was $5.19/g, a difference of $2.45/g. The cheapest price in the entire country on Monday was $1.88/g while the most expensive was $5.19/g, a difference of $3.31/g.

While the national average price of gasoline has risen 1.6 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.57/g on Monday, prices in the western region continued to decline.

According to AAA, Alaska (-4 cents) saw the largest decreases in the region. Hawaii and California remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona follow.

Increased gasoline stocks continue to help put downward pressure on pump prices, even as demand remains robust. According to the Energy Information Admiration’s report for the week ending on Dec. 20, total gas stocks in the region fell slightly from 31.63 million bbl to 31.58 million bbl. The current supply level is 4.52 million bbl higher than last year’s level at this time, which will likely continue to help prices in the region decline throughout the week.

 The national average is down 2.0 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 32.3 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

"The streak has been broken: for seven straight weeks we saw the national average drop, but the fun has come to an end as oil prices continue to show strength into the last days of 2019 boosting the national average this past week," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "Prices jumped thanks to a notable, yet anticipated drop in oil inventories, sending oil to multi-month highs above $61 and gasoline prices following. However, weakness will likely return to gasoline prices in January and February as demand weakens, so perhaps all is not lost. As we say goodbye to 2019, here are some interesting figures from this decade: the U.S. consumed 1.25 trillion gallons of gasoline, which is enough volume to raise Lake Superior's level 2.3 inches, having spent $3.625 trillion on gasoline alone, and driving 31.25 trillion miles, enough for 5,208 round trips to Pluto on the consumed gasoline. With 2019 nearly behind us, many are asking what lays ahead for 2020? GasBuddy will be releasing our 2020 Fuel Outlook this week, and in it, answers to many asked questions about how bad gas prices will get over the coming 365 days."

Historical gasoline prices in the Modesto area and the national average going back 10 years:

Dec. 30, 2018: $3.13/g (U.S. Average: $2.25/g) Dec. 30, 2017: $2.88/g (U.S. Average: $2.48/g) Dec. 30, 2016: $2.56/g (U.S. Average: $2.33/g) Dec. 30, 2015: $2.50/g (U.S. Average: $2.00/g) Dec. 30, 2014: $2.48/g (U.S. Average: $2.26/g) Dec. 30, 2013: $3.51/g (U.S. Average: $3.31/g) Dec. 30, 2012: $3.38/g (U.S. Average: $3.29/g) Dec. 30, 2011: $3.50/g (U.S. Average: $3.27/g) Dec. 30, 2010: $3.25/g (U.S. Average: $3.06/g) Dec. 30, 2009: $2.86/g (U.S. Average: $2.62/g).