National average gas price drops below $2 per gallon

National average gas price drops below $2 per gallon The national average price of self-serve regular gasoline is continuing to drop after nearing record highs shortly before the U.S. Presidential election, AAA's daily, online Fuel Gauge Report (www.fuelgaugereport.c om) shows.

The nationwide gas price reached $2.033 per gallon on Oct. 29 � short of the all-time record high price of $2.054 per gallon set last May 26 � before starting a gradual decline to $1.958.

AAA said an important reason for the gradual easing of gas prices is the lower price of crude oil in the last two weeks. Crude oil reached $55 per barrel before the Nov. 2 election and has recently fallen below $47 per barrel. Lower oil prices have occurred as the U.S. oil industry has been able to restore capacity and reserves lost when Hurricane Ivan struck the Gulf of Mexico in September.

Nationwide, the price of self-serve, mid-grade averages $2.079 per gallon, a decrease of 4.9 cents per gallon since last month, and 48.7 cents per gallon higher than last year. Self-serve premium averages $2.154 per gallon, down 5.2 cents since mid-October and 50.4 cents higher than one year ago. The price of self-serve regular is 45.8 cents higher than one year ago.

The South Dakota statewide average price for self-serve regular gasoline is $1.958 per gallon, about 3.7 cents lower than last month at this time. In Sioux Falls the average is $1.905, down 6.8 cents from last month. The Rapid City average is $1.998, down just fractions of a cent from $2.003 last month.

The national average prices for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline for AAA's mid-November survey for the last five years are: 2003, $1.504; 2002, $1.458; 2001, $1.206; 2000, $1.547; and 1999, $1.282.

In South Dakota, the average prices for the same time period are as follows: 2003, $1.5810; 2002, $1.4970; 2001, $1.2070; 2000, $1.6156; 1999, $1.2711.

AAA's Fuel Gauge Report is based on data from Oil Price Information Service, the nation's most comprehensive source of petroleum pricing information. AAA purchases the data and makes it available free on the Internet as a public service. Average daily prices for the nation, all 50 states and more than 250 localities are available for all grades of gasoline, making the site the most current and complete public source of fuel price information. For more information, go to www.fuelgaugereport.com.

As the nation's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 47 million members (81,000 in South Dakota) with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at www.aaa.com.

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