The average price of gas in San Antonio has fallen below $2 a gallon in San Antonio, the first time prices have been this low over the Fourth of July holiday in this century, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
GasBuddy.com says the average price for regular in the metro area today is $1.97. Prices as low as $1.83 can be found, including at the huge Buc-ees in New Braunfels.
GasBuddy Senior Analyst Patrick DeHaan says you can thank the ingenuity of the Texas oil industry.
"U.S. producers have really offset all of OPEC's production cuts that they announced last November, and that's what's keeping supply on the increase," he told News Radio 1200 WOAI.
DeHaan says Texas shale producers have flummoxed all of OPEC's attmepts to drive them out of business.
First OPEC vastly increased production in late 2014, hoping to drive down prices to the point where it wasn't economical to drill for shale. That worked for a while, but then Texas producers developed efficiencies, including widespread use of automation, which cut the oil price where they could drill and make a profit, in some cases, under $40 a barrel.
OPEC has also collapsed as a viable dictator of oil prices.
When flooding the world market with oil failed, OPEC last November dedcided to cut production, in an attempt to drive prices up that way. But even two of its members, Libya and Nigeria, have vastly increased oil production, and Texas shale production has more than filled the void.
In fact, federal energy officials expect US domestic production in 2018 to surpass 10 million barrels a day, breaking a production record set back in 1970, before the rise of OPEC.
And, DeHaan says what is truly remarkable, is that gas prices are falling at the busiest time of the year. Not only is summer the time when gasoline demand is the highest, but more expensive summer blend gasoline, ordered by the EPA to reduce smog, also jacks up the price at the pump by as much as a dime a gallon.
But DeHaan says prices are lower today than they were in the depths of winter.
"About 13 cents a gallon on average higher than today," he said. "That is remarkable to see gas prices at the beginning of a year higher than where they are on the Fourth of July."
DeHaan says barring something extraordinary, he sees no indication that gas prices will rise substantlly any time soon.