WASHINGTON – Car shoppers factoring in pump prices got some encouraging news this week from AAA and the federal government.
Both are predicting low gas prices for 2016, which is expected to boost sales of trucks and SUVs.
“Leading into 2016, the national average is expected to continue to slide because supply should continue to outpace demand,” said AAA in its year-end prediction on December 28.
It added: “Pump prices continue to hover around the $2 benchmark. Retail averages have fallen for 45 of the past 52 days and despite prices moving higher by fractions of a penny on the week, today’s average price of $1.99 is the lowest for this date since the Great Recession.
“Consumers are saving 5 cents per gallon versus one month ago and 30 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said the average price of U.S. regular retail gasoline was $2.16 a gallon in November, a decrease of 13 cents a gallon from October and 75 cents a gallon lower than November 2014.
It is forecasting prices to average $2.36 a gallon in 2016.
The impact of low gas prices on vehicle sales was evident in December’s car sales report.
Trucks, crossovers and vans, including the Cadillac SRX, Nissan Rogue and Ford Transit Connect, were snapped up by car shoppers.
“Low-APR offers and tumbling gas prices are making it easy for shoppers to buy or lease a new car,” said Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell.
Edmunds says: Gas prices should be a non-issue for most car shoppers in 2016. But Edmunds advises consumers to take the middle road and plan for ups and downs in pump prices in the long term.