Motorists in New Jersey are paying less at the gas pump due to seasonal change, lower crude oil prices, and low gas taxes.
The average price for regular gas in New Jersey is $3.16 per gallon, compared to Pennsylvania’s average of $3.41 per gallon. The national average is listed as $3.34 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.
The price of gas is set by the price of crude oil, the amount of state and federal taxes, refining costs, distribution and marketing costs, and gas station markup.
Chief Oil Analyst at Gasbuddy.com Tom Kloza said that one of the reasons for New Jersey’s cheaper prices in gasoline is its close proximity to refineries along the Delaware River and the New York Harbor area.
“We [New Jersey residents] also happen to have a very low gas tax when compared to the rest of the states,” Kloza said. “If you go to California, Chicago, or New York City, there are much higher fuel taxes, so that’s going to account for some of the big differences”.
Kloza said that crude oil prices have dropped by about $20 since last June due to sluggish demands, causing much cheaper gasoline prices throughout the world. Also, the demand for gas tends to go down in the fall and winter as drivers travel less compared to the summer.
The seasonal gasoline transition is another reason for the recent gas price drops in New Jersey and other states. Gasoline is blended differently for the summer and the winter due to clean air regulations, with winter-blended gas being cheaper to produce than summer-blended gas.
For most states, September 15 marks the change from summer-blended gas to winter-blended gas. This cheaper production in gas allows for the lowering of the price of gasoline.
Kloza predicts that the national average price for gasoline will drop somewhere between $3.10 and $3.20, and says that motorists can expect prices to drop the most during the holidays.
Economics professor Christopher Ruebeck said there may be changes in gas prices to decrease the high demand for gasoline in the spring and summer – when air pollution is highest.
“A lot of factors go into determining these prices,” Ruebeck said. “Some of those factors may be regulatory, to deal with pollution created by gasoline. The intent is to have people use less gasoline during those times.”
With a 25 cents difference in the average price for regular gas, some students with cars on campus are weighing the costs and benefits of making the trip from Easton to New Jersey.
Nicole Manderson ‘18 said that she was unaware of the cheaper gas prices in New Jersey and is now considering crossing state lines for the lower price.
“I’m kind of jealous,” said Manderson. “A lot of college students don’t have the extra money lying around to just spend on gas, and that’s a bunch of money they could save and spend on other things.”