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AAA Fuel Gauge Report: National Average Finally Below Year-Ago Level

NATIONAL REPORT -- For the first time since Jan. 31, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is lower than its level on the same day in 2012, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report. The national average on March 4 was $3.75, 3 cents less expensive than one week ago and 2 cents less than the average price one year ago.

Since the recent peak that occurred during the 36-day streak of price increases, the national average price has dropped on five consecutive days for a total of 4 cents.

While most states are still seeing higher pump prices than a month ago, 27 states have an average price that is cheaper than one year ago, and 38 states plus Washington, D.C., are paying less than one week ago. Spot gasoline prices, gas sold for immediate payment and delivery, are dropping dramatically, and it is likely that retail prices will also continue to fall.

Recent declines and the fact that the national average has fallen below levels one year ago support AAA's prediction that gas prices will peak at a lower level than in recent years, according to the report. The spring peak was $3.94 last year on April 5 and 6, and $3.98 on May 5, 2011. Cheaper crude oil contributed to the current lowering of prices, but falling wholesale gasoline prices are more closely linked to the decrease of the national average.

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