Sacramento gas is cheap. Time to worry?

A recent decision by an international consortium of oil-producing nations translated into an unprecedented dip in local gas prices over Thanksgiving weekend.

In Sacramento, the average price of retail gasoline dropped 1.6 cents per gallon to $2.93 per gallon over the past week, according to GasBuddy, which monitors gas prices.

As of November 30, local gas prices were 26.3 cents lower than last month and 52.7 cents cheaper than they were a year ago, GasBuddy’s survey of 720 Sacramento gas outlets revealed. Sacramento’s average price is slightly higher than the national average, which has also seen steady declines as shale oil output ramps up in the United States.

Faced with stiffer stateside competition, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries put off what has been a commonplace tactic of lowering supply to increase demand. Analysts say OPEC delayed tamping down its oil production in an attempt to pinch the profits of newer producers with large up-front costs. It’s anticipated to be a long-slog price war with ramifications even in non-OPEC countries like China and Russia. As the billion-dollar oil giants fiddle, motorists continue to burn through the cheap black.

“In my decade of watching oil and gasoline prices, I don’t think I’ve seen as steep a decline in a 48 hour time frame as what we saw on Thanksgiving Day and into last Friday as OPEC put off any decrease in production,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “This is perhaps one of the most astonishing weeks in watching crude prices I’ve ever witnessed.”

DeHaan predicted a 15-cent-to-25-cent drop over the next several weeks.

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