Most States See Minor Relief at the Pump

Gas prices fell in most states during the past week, though by only a penny or so in some, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, and the lowest prices for the most part were in the southern half of the country.'s Eco-Friendly Car of the Year

The national average of $3.29 for regular unleaded on Thursday was 1 cent less than a week ago, 3 cents higher than a month ago and 3 cents less than a year ago, AAA said.

Pump prices fell 3 cents in the last week in Missouri to an average of $2.99 for a gallon of regular unleaded, the lowest statewide average and the first time any state has dipped below $3 in 2014. Montana had the second lowest average at $3.02, the lone northern state among those with average pump prices of $3.10 or less. The average price in Oklahoma was $3.06; Arkansas and South Carolina were at $3.09; and Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas were within tenths of a cent of $3.10, AAA reported.

Hawaii continued to have the highest prices, a $4.02 average for regular unleaded. Connecticut remained highest among the Lower 48 states at $3.66. Alaska was next at $3.65, followed by New York, $3.64; California, $3.59; and the District of Columbia, $3.55. Motorists saw some relief in California, Connecticut and New York, where average prices fell 3 cents during the last week.

In Minnesota, which had seen prices jump more than 25 cents since mid-December, pump prices fell 4 cents per gallon in the last seven days to $3.19. Prices fell by smaller amounts or leveled off in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, which also had experienced double-digit increases in recent weeks.

The national average of $3.86 for diesel fuel was unchanged from a week ago and 4 cents less than a year ago.

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Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on .  Email Rick