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Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | October 7, 2013

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, October 7, 2013) U.S. and global markets are working to evaluate the impact of the federal government shutdown and renewed U.S. debt ceiling concerns, while retail gas prices continue to march steadily lower. Today’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.35 per gallon. This price is a nickel less expensive than one week ago, 23 cents less than one month ago and 47 cents less than the same day last year. Today’s year-over-year discount is the largest since October 17, 2009.

The national average price at the pump has now fallen for 36 straight days and has dropped 25 cents during this span. This marks the longest streak of daily declines since prices tumbled 86 consecutive days September 17-December 12, 2008, when they plummeted a whopping $2.20 per gallon in less than three months.

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With national prices in steady decline, drivers across the country are sharing in the welcome relief at the pump. Today’s average price in every state and D.C. is lower for the week, month and year; however the degree of decline varies dramatically. The largest weekly price drops are in the Midwest and central U.S. — led by more than ten-cent discounts in Mich., Ind. and Ohio — compared to S.C. and D.C. where prices have fallen less than a penny per gallon. Drivers in these same Midwestern and central states are also experiencing the largest month-over-month relief, including ten states where prices are at least 30 cents less than last month. Drivers west of the Rockies are seeing the smallest monthly declines, as prices in Alaska, Ariz., Wash., Ore., Wyo., Idaho, Nev. and Calif. have all dropped less than a dime per gallon. While many Midwestern drivers are filling up their cars at a 50-cent discount to the same day in 2012, the largest yearly disparity is in Calif. where drivers now pay an average price that is more than 80 cents less than one year ago.

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AAA expects that retail prices will continue lower in the coming months, as sufficient supplies, flat demand and cheaper winter-blend gasoline mean motorists are likely to pay less to fill their tanks. Barring a hurricane or other unexpected disruption to gasoline production and distribution, the national average could fall to $3.10-20 per gallon by Christmas, which would be the lowest mark since February 2011.

Despite falling retail gas prices and recent political and economic uncertainty, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has remained above $100 per barrel for more than three months. Even with a slight decline in today’s trading, this streak continued as WTI settled 81 cents lower at $103.03 per barrel at the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX.

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