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Gas was cheap last year, and it may get even cheaper in 2016

AAA's year-end gas report is good news for your wallet, but bad news for those trying to expand the use of alternate fuels.

2015 Ford F-150
As gas prices drop, truck sales rise. However, oil is a finite resource, and many buyers forget the fact that gas prices will inevitably rise over time.
Antuan Goodwin/CNET

When gas is cheap, buyers tend to go big with their car purchases. Low gas prices maintained this trend in 2015, and it looks like it will continue for yet another year, according to the American Automobile Association's annual gas-price report.

Last year's average per-gallon gas price was 94 cents cheaper than in 2014, the AAA reports, making it the second cheapest in the past decade. Diesel's average price dropped by approximately $1.10 in that same period as well, thanks to an overabundance of crude oil that exceeded global demand.

Gas continued to drop through the year, as well. In fact, the national average price in December was $2.01, the lowest in almost seven years. As of New Year's Eve, the lowest average price by state was Missouri at $1.72 per gallon. The highest was California, at $2.85 per gallon, thanks to refinery issues. It was the first time California had the highest annual average fuel cost, beating out Hawaii, which as you may be aware is in the middle of an ocean.

Even with rising costs associated with traditional pre-summer refinery maintenance, AAA believes 2016's national average will lower slightly, coming in at an estimated annual average between $2.25 and $2.45 per gallon.

Of course, things might not go as planned. AAA cites political events and conflicts as two major reasons prices could rise this year. Nevertheless, the outlook for cheaper gas in 2016 is good, even if that could spell trouble for sales of efficient vehicles.