Southern Illinois motorists can expect to start seeing gas prices near or below $2 soon, according to the petroleum experts at GasBuddy.com

“As long as oil prices remain at these levels, we should see lower prices at the moment,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. 

A few Southern Illinois gas stations in Carterville, Marion and Christopher dipped below $2 over the weekend, according to stats kept by the website. 

DeHaan said oil refineries coming back online from maintenance, coupled with low oil prices, are a big contributor to the decreased prices at the pump.

By December, he said most refineries will probably be done with maintenance, resulting in even lower prices for the holiday season.

“As long as refineries can stay the course without any unexpected maintenance, it should translate some of the lowest prices of year hitting toward mid-December,” DeHaan said.

Without any major unexpected delays in refineries, DeHaan predicted a 10 to 20 cents decrease in prices by Christmas.

According to GasBuddy.com, average gas prices in Illinois have fallen $0.10 cents in the past week, averaging $2.36 on Sunday throughout the state. 

According to gas experts, the national average is about $0.14 cents higher per gallon than the state’s, but current prices are about $0.77 per gallon lower than Oct. 25 in 2014, and about $0.12 less than September 2015.

Southern Illinois consumers are happy to see the prices begin to drop a bit, especially Ashley Spears, of Herrin, at the Moto Mart in Carterville. 

"This is the perfect time for this to begin happening," she said Monday. "Money always starts to get tight around this time, so its nice to know this is one less expense to worry about." 

Marshall Cannon of Carbondale said although gas is an expense he has to pay for, it is always nice to see the price going down rather than up. 

"It is a lot better to see a one in front of the price than a two or a three," he said. "It would be great if those days of expensive gas prices were over, but I doubt it." 

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Dustin Duncan is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering Carbondale.

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