Eight gas stations in the Tacoma area have already dropped regular unleaded gas prices below $3.50 a gallon this week as average gas prices slide steadily downward here and nationwide.
According to Tacomagasprices.com, the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular in the Tacoma area Wednesday was $3.67 a gallon. That's about two cents less per gallon than at the same time last week.
One Tacoma-area station, CFN at Portland and Puyallup avenues near Interstate 5, was selling gas for less than $3.40 a gallon, $3.39 to be exact. Seven other Tacoma stations posted prices between $3.40 and $3.50 a gallon.
Prices Wednesday were more than 32 cents less than they were last year in late September.
Last year, gas prices bumped up in early autumn, an untypical pattern, before plunging steeply until just before Christmas.
Average gas prices nationwide have fallen to just below $3.50 a gallon in the last few days with more declines expected as the year moves forward, gasoline price experts predict.
The nation's lowest average price is in South Carolina where the price was $3.09 a gallon. The only state with average gas prices more than $4 is Hawaii. Motorists there pay an average of $4.25 a gallon.
Eight states had some stations were gas was being sold for less than $3 a gallon. Most of those states were in the South.
In the South Sound, the lowest price in the Olympia area was at the Arco station at 1022 Martin Way E. where unleaded was selling for $3.48 a gallon. In Federal Way, the lowest pump price, $3.49 a gallon, was at the Arco at 1600 SW 312th St.
Gas prices erosions have been propelled by full production at refineries while gas consumption is holding steady at 2012 levels.
Further price drops could be motivated by a drop in Middle East tension and a further erosion in the price of ethanol, which is mixed with gasoline, said GasBuddy Chief Oil Analyst Tom Kloza