Drivers in Aiken County are currently paying well below the state and national averages for a gallon of gasoline, and the prices are expected to continue plummeting.


On Friday, GasBuddy.com reported a nationwide average of $3.50 per gallon, a 15-cent drop from $3.65 on July 4.


AAA Carolinas last week said gas prices in South Carolina are averaging $3.24 per gallon, compared to $3.38 a month ago and $3.45 on Memorial Day.


Motorists in South Carolina are paying less than they were a year ago for a gallon of gas, and AAA projects the downward trend is to continue.


Gas prices are lower locally than the state average.


In Aiken on Monday, gas could be found for as low as $3.09 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com, which listed that price at Sam's Club on Jefferson Davis Highway.


The Kangaroo at the intersection of Whiskey Road and East Pine Log, Kelly's Hilltop on Williston Road in Aiken and Kroger on Whiskey Road also came in low at $3.11, $3.12 and $3.14, respectively.


The main reason for the decline in prices is record-high domestic refinery production, according to AAA Carolinas.


This creates an abundance of gasoline in the market, which helps bring down prices despite the conflicts overseas.


“As we rely less on overseas oil and at the same time consume less at home with more fuel-efficient cars, we have a perfect storm for declining prices at the pump,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.


Gas prices are in a good position to continue declining as long as refinery production remains strong and oil costs do not rise due to unexpected issues, according to a statement from the organization.


One of the biggest threats would be a hurricane in the Gulf Coast.


Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.