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Gas Prices on the Decline

NATIONAL REPORT. -- Good news for motorists: gas prices are starting to decline as the supply crunch begins to ease and crude oil prices decrease.

The Lundberg Survey out Sunday places the average price of regular gasoline at just over $3.75 a gallon, which is down from about $3.84 a gallon, In addition to supply and crude oil prices, the drop is attributed to decreased gasoline demand once summer came to a close.

The Lundberg Survey canvasses more than 2,500 filling stations across in 48 states. Its previous U.S. average, compiled Oct. 5, had been kept high by a sharp spike in prices in California that offset declines in the rest of the country, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said.

And there could be more good news on the horizon. A USA Today report estimates that gas prices could fall 50 cents per gallon from this month's peak over the next few weeks. Specifically, prices at the pump could drop to $3.35 or lower by late November.

"Most of the country is heading appreciably lower the next few weeks,'' Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service told the news outlet. He also noted wholesale prices in some key markets have dropped from as high as $4.35 a gallon to $2.71. Pump prices typically lag big wholesale drops. But Kloza expects retail prices to sink five to 15 cents a gallon over each of the next three weeks.

The decline in gas prices could provide a boost to consumer spending as well as play a key role in the November presidential election. Several battleground states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, are seeing lower prices, according to USA Today.

"Certainly, lower gas prices are helpful in terms of consumer spending by increasing disposable income,'' said Brian Bethune, chief economist at Alpha Economic Foresights. "And if prices come down at a rapid rate in the next three weeks, that would tend to help the incumbent. It may not be logical, but if people see problems with the high cost of food or gas, it's the president who tends to get the blame."

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