Average gas prices in the South Sound now below $3 a gallon

Average gas prices in the South Sound fell below $3 a gallon over the weekend, the first time in more than four years gasoline prices have fallen below that benchmark.

If Wall Street’s predictions hold true, that retail price here and nationwide may continue to fall even further as crude oil prices continue declining in the face of an oversupply of oil both from the U.S. and overseas. West Texas Intermediate crude fell Monday to $64.59 a barrel for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The average price for unleaded regular fell 4 cents in the South Sound according to from Sunday to Monday. The local average as of midday Monday was $2.95 a gallon.

That’s more than $1.08 less per gallon than last summer’s high average, set during the Independence Day holiday. For a 15-gallon fill-up, that translates to a $16.20 savings.

For bargain hunters, more than a dozen stations, most of them in Lakewood, have gas available for even less than the average. The low-price leader in Pierce County, for instance, is the Shell Station at 11741 Pacific Highway SW. That station was selling gas for $2.55 a gallon Monday.

In Olympia, the low price, $2.59 a gallon, is posted at the APP station at 1306 Fones Road SE. In Federal Way, the low price, $2.67 a gallon, was at Costco, 35100 Enchanted Parkway S.

Nationwide, the average price per gallon is some 30 cents lower than the South Sound price. West Coast prices are generally higher because of higher gas taxes and a more limited supply of fuel.

The nation’s least expensive gas is in Missouri where the average price per gallon is $2.35 a gallon. Highest-priced fuel is in Hawaii where a gallon averages $3.78.

South Sound prices this week are some 35 cents less than they were at this time last year.