AAA: Gas prices fall 9 cents per gallon

AAA: Gas prices fall 9 cents per gallon
The nationwide average price of self-serve regular gasoline has dropped 9 cents per gallon since the middle of September, but is still nearly 75 cents higher per gallon than one year ago, AAA's daily, online Fuel Gauge Report (www.aaafuelgaugereport.com) shows.

Today's nationwide average price of $2.742 per gallon compares to an average price of $2.005 per gallon recorded last year on this day, AAA said.

In early September, the price of gasoline skyrocketed nationwide in the wake of destruction to refineries, drilling platforms and pipelines left by Hurricane Katrina. Prices began to recede by the middle of the month, but regained their upward momentum as Hurricane Rita struck the Texas and Louisiana coasts on Sept. 24.

Now Hurricane Wilma is forming in the Caribbean and could pose another threat to oil and gasoline production.

Hawaii has the highest average gasoline prices by far this month at $3.493 per gallon for self-serve regular. The

Washington, DC area has the next highest average price at $2.945 per gallon. California has the third highest price at $2.923 per gallon.

The lowest average price is in Oklahoma at $2.351 per gallon, followed by Minnesota where gasoline is averaging

$2.444 per gallon and Kansas with an average of $2.46 per gallon.

The South Dakota statewide average is $2.565, down 21.5 cents from a month ago and down 55 cents from the record high of $3.115 set on September 7. While prices have been declining nationwide, the South Dakota average today is still about 57 cents higher than a year ago.

Prices in Sioux Falls are averaging about $2.47 per gallon, and in Rapid City the average cost is $2.69.

Nationwide, the price of self-serve, mid-grade gasoline averages $2.913 per gallon, a decrease from $3.004 per gallon in the middle of last month, and up from $2.128 one year ago. Self-serve premium averages $3.018 per gallon, down from $3.114 per gallon one month ago and up from $2.206 one year ago.

The national average prices for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline for AAA's mid-September survey for the last five years are: 2004, $2.005; 2003, $1.565; 2002, $1.448; 2001, $1.346; and 2000, $1.549.

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.

In addition to AAA's online Fuel Gauge Report, consumers can find more information and local gas prices at www.aaa.com/ga sprices.

As the nation's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 48 million members 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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