Gas Prices Drop Another Nickel This Week

By Rick Popely  on August 8, 2014

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Another week, another drop in gas prices.

Pump prices fell 5 cents the past week to a national average of $3.47 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said Thursday. That's the lowest level for early-August since 2010. The national average for regular unleaded has fallen 18 cents in the past month, and was 13 cents lower than a year ago. Diesel fuel has fallen 6 cents in the past month to $3.83 a gallon, 5 cents less than on Aug. 7, 2013.

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Prices have been sliding for about six weeks as conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East have not interrupted the flow of crude oil. In addition, U.S. refineries have operated at close to capacity, and crude oil prices have declined from a 52-week high of nearly $107 a barrel on June 25. Oil was trading at about $97 a barrel on Thursday.

The combination of falling oil prices and high gas production has allowed motorists in most states to keep more money in their pockets during what is traditionally the busiest driving season. In the past month pump prices have dipped by more than 20 cents in California, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Minnesota. AAA said average prices were lower than a year ago in all but a handful of states. Alaska, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon are among those with higher prices compared with 2013.

Alabama had the lowest statewide average for regular unleaded at $3.22, followed by Missouri at $3.23, Tennessee at $3.25, and Mississippi and Oklahoma at $3.26. Hawaii had the most expensive gas, $4.33 for regular unleaded, and Alaska was the only other state over $4 at $4.11. California was next-highest at $3.93, followed by Oregon and Washington at $3.91.

Among major metro areas, Honolulu had the most expensive gas, $4.33, followed by San Francisco, $4.07. Prices averaged $3.93 in Los Angeles, 25 cents less than a month ago, and in the Chicago area the $3.65 average was 27 cents lower than a month ago. Motorists in New York City were paying $3.90 a gallon, down 16 cents from the past month.

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