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Gas prices drop, could see decline through December

INDIANAPOLIS – Gas prices decreased 19 cents per gallon during the month of September, marking the largest monthly decline since October 2012. Experts expect prices to keep dropping through the end of the year.

According to the AAA Hoosier Motor Club, the national average has dropped 29 days in a row, the longest consecutive decline since April 2012. The group says the national average of $3.40 is the lowest since Jan. 30, 2013.

Locally, Indiana’s statewide average of $3.34 is the lowest since Jan. 22, 2013, when it hit $3.32 per gallon.

AAA attributes the decline to the smooth running of refineries, which have had few problems and haven’t had to deal with a hurricane affecting production. Gasoline demand typically falls in September as kids return to school and the frequency of long car trips declines.

Much of the country switched to the less expensive winter-blend in mid-September, which can cost up to 15 cents per gallon less than summer’s blend. Crude oil prices have also dropped, although they’re still about $11 higher than a year ago. Overall, crude oil has closed above $100 per barrel every day since July 3, marking the longest consecutive period that’s happened since the summer of 2008.

Analysts expect gas prices to continue going down. According to AAA Hoosier Motor Club’s Greg Seiter, prices should drop through December as long as current trends in refinery production and oil prices hold.

The cheapest national average so far this year was 3.29 per gallon on Jan. 2. The national average dropped 56 cents a year ago between Oct. 1 and Dec. 20; the average price has dropped during that period in three out of the last five years.

The cheapest prices in the nation are in the southeast U.S. while California has the most expensive gas in the continental U.S.

Five highest averages:

  • Hawaii ($4.26)
  • Alaska ($3.93)
  • California ($3.92)
  • Connecticut ($3.79)
  • New York ($3.73)

Five lowest averages:

  • South Carolina ($3.09)
  • Missouri ($3.14)
  • Mississippi ($3.15)
  • Virginia ($3.17)
  • Texas ($3.17)

You can find more at AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.

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