Gas Prices Fall to Lowest in Seven Months

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Gas prices continued to decline in most states the past week, with the national average for regular unleaded falling 2 cents a gallon to $3.34, the lowest in more than seven months, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.The widespread decline in pump prices put the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded at 11 cents less than motorists were paying a year ago.

Gas Prices Continue to Slide as Expected

Drivers in some states were benefiting from much bigger year-over-year savings. Statewide averages were 20 cents lower than a year ago in Connecticut, Iowa and New Jersey, 22 cents lower in South Dakota, 23 cents lower in Kansas and 25 cents lower in California.

The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report indicated on Thursday that Oregon was the only state where the price of regular unleaded was still higher than a year ago — $3.73 today versus $3.68 on Sept. 25, 2013. Next-door neighbor Washington was even with last year’s average, at $3.73. Prices have been falling in both states in recent weeks, dropping 7 cents a gallon the past week alone. Diesel fuel also fell 2 cents a gallon the past week to a $3.75 national average, 17 cents less than at this time last year.

A string of more than two weeks of daily declines ended earlier this week as the national average leveled off after prices jumped in a handful of states, including Michigan, Ohio and Missouri, which AAA identifies as among the most vulnerable to price fluctuations because of frequent refinery issues.

On balance, though, AAA said market conditions remain favorable for additional seasonal declines in pump prices. Demand decreases after the summer driving season, crude oil prices remain relatively low and retailers are switching to winter gasoline blends. Winter-blend gas is less expensive to produce, which can translate to lower prices at the pump.

Oil hovered around $93 a barrel Thursday, about $11 less than the calendar-year high of $104.44, set June 25, as traders shrugged off ongoing tensions in the Middle East as an urgent concern. Some analysts, though, said stronger economic growth in the U.S. could increase demand for gas in the coming months.

Mississippi and South Carolina had the lowest average gas prices at $3.10 for regular unleaded. Arkansas was next at $3.12, followed by Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia at $3.13. Hawaii had the highest-priced gas at $4.23, and remained the only state with an average of more than $4. Alaska’s $3.94 average was second-highest, followed by Oregon and Washington, $3.73, and California, $3.72.

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