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Under $2 for fuel?
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MONROE - The Energy Information Administration announced Tuesday a prediction that national average fuel prices will fall below $2 per gallon this winter.

The prediction comes toward the end of a year that saw some of the lowest gas prices in Wisconsin for more than eight years.

At the time of this writing, the nationwide average fuel price is about $2.13 per gallon, according to data from fuel price reporting site

Meanwhile, gas prices in Monroe hover at an average of $2.11 per gallon. New Glarus' and Monticello's averages are $2.09 per gallon, Brodhead hovers at $2.11, and Albany reaches as high as $2.12 per gallon.

However, these numbers are prone to significant fluctuation throughout the week.

Erik Huschitt, general and commodities manager for Badger State Ethanol, said the generally slightly higher gas prices in urban areas are a side effect of the Unfair Sales Act, otherwise known as the minimum markup law.

The Unfair Sales Act prohibits retailers from selling a product for less than the cost of that product as an attempt to prevent vendors from undercutting competitors. The Act imposes a price increase on fuel retailers of either 9.18 percent of the fuel cost to the retailer, or 9.18 percent of the average price at the nearest other retailer, whichever is greater.

With more gas vendors in Monroe than in any of the surrounding towns, the minimum markup law tends to level gas prices in the area according to the most expensive gas nearby, Huschitt said. At the time of writing, the most expensive gas in Monroe was sold at $2.13 per gallon, at multiple stations throughout town.

Huschitt said he would prefer to be able to sell more affordable fuel blends, but is unable to do so because of the minimum markup law.

According to the data, national fuel prices have dropped steadily since reaching an average of $2.38 per gallon in mid-June.

The average price per gallon in Wisconsin is currently $2.19, higher than the average in Lafayette County ($2.14 per gallon) or in Green County ($2.12 per gallon). The state's average is the 18th highest in the nation.

Neighboring Dane County has the lowest average gas prices per gallon in the state, at $2.09. On the other hand, Florence County currently has the highest average gas prices in the state, at $2.36 per gallon.

According to data from GasBuddy, the statewide average has dropped 20 cents since last month, and 48 cents since last year.

However, Wisconsin's average is a far cry from its lowest average since 2008, when gas prices plummeted to $1.50 per gallon in February.