It’s been 1,000 consecutive days since the national average price for a gallon of gas was less than $3 – and it’s not expected to drop any time soon, according to AAA.
This is the first time on record that gas prices have remained above $3 for 1,000 days, and AAA is forecasting that the national average won’t dip below that threshold for at least another 1,000 days, barring another economic recession.
“Paying less than $3 per gallon for gasoline may be automotive history for most Americans, like using 8-track tapes or going to a drive-in move,” AAA president and CEO Bob Darbelnet said in a statement. “The reality is that the expensive gas is here to stay, which is tough on millions of people who need a car to live their lives.”
The national average for gas today is $3.51, according to the motoring organization, down from $3.86 a year ago. At just $3.18, gas prices in South Carolina are the lowest in the nation, while Californians are paying the most, $4.03 per gallon.
Gas prices first topped the $3.00 mark for about a week after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when oil rigs in the Gulf were devastated. The current streak began on December 23, 2010.
The longest previous streak was for 244 days in 2008. AAA expects prices to drop through December as demand declines.
More than 60 percent of drivers said they have offset high gas prices by changing their driving habits or lifestyle, according to AAA. Those changes include driving less (86 percent); reducing spending on food and other items (71 percent); and driving a more fuel-efficient car (54 percent).
Americans have been steadily decreasing their gas consumption for years. In 2007, drivers consumed 9.09 million barrels of gasoline per day.
This year, that average fell to 8.44 million per day, a 7.7 percent decrease.