FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Fairfield County drivers can expect some relief at the gas pump this summer -- but don't count on prices falling below $3 anytime soon, according to Connecticut AAA spokeswoman Fran Mayko.
Gas prices are volatile now and are subject to rapid changes, Mayko said. But she anticipates the average price of gas to go down to about $3.40 per gallon this summer. Prices had been hovering at close to $4 per gallon back in January.
Drivers hoping for a return to gas prices of the 1990s shouldn't get their hopes up.
"We're never, ever going to see under $3 [a gallon] again unless there's some dire financial meltdown like in 2008," Mayko said. "But there are so many factors that affect the price of gas."
Connecticut's average gas prices tend to hover about 20 cents above the national average due to taxes, environmental regulations and zone pricing, Mayko said. The average price of gas in Connecticut is currently $3.69 per gallon, while the national average is $3.50.
That is down from this time last year, when Connecticut gas prices averaged $4.13 per gallon.
Gas prices are starting to drop nationwide because Americans are buying less gas, according to a new study conducted by AAA.
Almost two-thirds of Americans have changed their driving habits in the past five years since the financial crisis of 2008, according to the AAA study.
About 86 percent of Americans are driving less, 71 percent are dining out or shopping less, 54 percent are driving a more fuel-efficient car, 39 percent are working closer to home, 33 percent are carpooling and 15 percent are using public transportation more often.
Storms in the Midwest in the winter and spring have also affected demand for gas.
"A lot of time it's a psychological event that triggers gas prices to go up or down," Mayko said. "But right now it's really just low demand."
Expect a brief spike in prices around Memorial Day, she said. But prices will sink to about the $3.40 mark in Connecticut for most of the summer, Mayko said.
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