Gas prices

As of Aug. 1, gas prices are the lowest they've been in four years, according to GasBuddy.com (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune / August 1, 2014)

Drivers, start your gas pumps. August 1 gas prices are the lowest they’ve been in four years, according to GasBuddy.com.

That should come as a welcome reprieve for drivers who saw the highest Independence Day prices in six years.

The gasoline price tracking service said Friday that nationwide gasoline prices are averaging $3.509 per gallon, a 15 cent drop from July 4th when prices were $3.658 per gallon. In Illinois, prices averaged $3.580 per gallon Friday versus $3.836 this time this last year and $3.920 in 2011.

The average Chicago area gas price was $3.944 Friday afternoon, according to AAA, versus $4.266 a year ago with a Citgo at 3759 W. Chicago Ave. winning the low price war at $3.679 per gallon.

Nationwide, gas prices are also the lowest they’ve been since March 14, the day before the secession vote in Ukraine’s Crimea region. After that, oil prices ticked up over concerns about supplying coming out of Russia and Iraq.

The company said a hurricane or other major tropical storms typically seen in August could send prices back up. So, watch those weather reports. Short of that, the site said it expects gas prices to continue to improve.

“We see about 24 stations in four state where gasoline sells for less than $3 per gallon on the street,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy. “But November, we’ll probably see thousands of sites where $3 per gallon can be beaten.”

jwernau@tribune.com