NEWS

Gas Prices Reach Half-Year Low

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Gas prices continued to ease in most parts of the country after the Labor Day weekend, and motorists in some areas are now paying the lowest pump prices in months. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell by only a penny or two in many areas, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That was enough to push the national average down a penny the past week to $3.42, the lowest in more than six months. Diesel fuel also fell by a penny to $3.79.

Related: Gas Prices Continue to Fall

In Alaska, the statewide average fell 2 cents to $4, the lowest since the end of May. Hawaii had the nation’s most expensive gas, with the statewide average unchanged at $4.27, followed by Alaska and Washington, $3.86, and Oregon, $3.85. Prices continued to retreat in California, falling 3 cents the past week to $3.81, the lowest average there since late-February.

AAA predicted prices will continue to fall as refineries switch from summer gas blends to winter blends, which cost less to produce. Federal regulations require pricier summer blends in most major urban areas during the warm months to reduce pollution.

South Carolina had the lowest average price at $3.15, with Mississippi a close second at $3.16. Virginia was next at $3.17, followed by Arkansas and Louisiana at $3.19. This is the first week since late-February in which at least five states averaged less than $3.20 a gallon. Drivers in most areas also are paying less today than they did a year ago. The national average for regular unleaded is 14 cents lower than on Sept. 11, 2013, and diesel is 16 cents lower — though price declines have been much larger in some states.

Among the “biggest losers” are Minnesota and Nebraska, where average pump prices are 28 cents lower than a year ago, and Iowa and Kansas, where prices are 33 cents lower. Prices are higher now than at this time last year in a handful of states, particularly in the West and Northwest, which AAA said was due to lingering refinery issues that have slowed production. Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are among states where prices are higher than a year ago.

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