PORTLAND

More than a dozen Maine gas stations have set the price of a regular gallon of gas below $2 as the statewide average price fell another 8.5 cents, to $2.16, according to price tracker GasBuddy.com.

The latest dip brings the statewide average to about $1.35 less than one year ago, a drop caused by plummeting crude oil prices and helped by seasonal dips in gasoline prices through the winter.

The global decline in crude oil prices has raised questions about when the cost would start to turn around and, in turn, cause gasoline prices to rise at the pump.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with Gas- Buddy, said in a news release Tuesday that sudden fluctuations in the price of crude oil through last week could perhaps signal that crude oil prices have hit bottom.

“We’ll certainly be watching the price of oil during this shortened trading week, and if oil fails to continue declining, it’s likely that it won’t get much better at the pump,” DeHaan said.

With the latest decline, more stations in the state have broken the $2-per-gallon threshold. Two stations in Waterboro were the first in Maine to hit a $1.99 price for gas last week.

Owners of both stations said that the dip was a little ahead of the market, as the state average was at $2.26 on Jan. 11.

According to GasBuddy, C.N. Brown’s station in Pittsfield had the lowest price in the state on Tuesday morning, at $1.94 per gallon. That was followed by a Shell station in Milford, Citgo in Old Town and Sam’s Club locations in Scarborough and Bangor.

The dip in global crude oil prices was driven by new production in the United States in the past year and a decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain production levels in the face of declining demand.

The dip in crude oil prices has been an economic boon for drivers in the United States and particularly for Maine, where steady decreases in crude oil prices have lowered the cost of No. 2 heating oil, which is the primary heating fuel for homes in the state.

Industry analysts expect prices of both gasoline and heating oil to begin rising, but they are unsure of how fast that escalation will occur. DeHaan said in a previous forecast that consistently low crude oil prices could force some producers to cut back operations or exit the market entirely, and “could ultimately result in a slingshot back in prices down the road.”

The national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline fell another 5.8 cents in the past week, to $2.05 per gallon, which is $1.24 less than one year ago.

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