Gas Prices Plummet Nationwide Except in Chicago Area

By David Thomas  on April 23, 2013

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The national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.52 according to AAA. That's down 8.6% from this time last year, which traditionally is the beginning of a decline in gas prices that runs through July.

While states such as Colorado and Maryland are seeing relief at the pump to the tune of 36 cents and 41 cents a gallon, respectively, recent flooding has increased prices quickly in Chicago and surrounding areas.

In Chicago, gas prices are almost 3% lower than a year ago, but compared to prices from a week ago, they're up 7.5%. As a whole, Illinois' average gas price is up 5.5% from last week.

Surrounding states such as Michigan and Ohio are also seeing prices rise due to the storms.

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Diesel fuel prices aren't as volatile as regular unleaded, and they exhibit smaller price swings. A gallon of diesel is down 5% compared to last year's national average price, and the price is 1.5% lower in Illinois. Compared to a week ago, Illinois' average price of diesel is actually slightly lower.

In Chicago itself, the traditionally pricey diesel costs less than a gallon of regular unleaded.

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If a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI was filled up alongside a 2013 Jetta with the base 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine in Chicago, it would cost .4% less to fill the diesel Jetta. The TDI gets 23.5% better fuel economy with a sticker price that's 11% higher than a comparably equipped Jetta 2.5.

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Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David