OTTUMWA — Gas prices are giving consumers some welcome relief, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Prices have fallen an average of five cents nationally over the past week, and they're down almost 36 cents compared to a year ago. Prices in the Midwest have run slightly higher than the national average for much of the summer, but the current regional average of is below the current U.S. Figure.
Iowa is doing even better. The statewide average on gasbuddy.com, a site that monitors gas prices using public input, put Iowa's average price at $3.41 per gallon. That's five cents below the national average.
The site's prices for Ottumwa Wednesday morning stood at $3.23 per gallon, with similar prices reported for most area communities.
Analysts say the falling prices are due to basic supply and demand. Gasoline supplies are high right now. And the recent thawing of relations between the U.S. and Iran raises the possibility that more gas might reach the market from Iranian oil fields.
The combination of events has some experts suggesting prices could dip below $3 per gallon. Drivers haven't seen prices that low in more than 1,000 days.