Motorists Experiencing Varying Degrees of Price Relief

AAA: March 18 first day since Jan. 11 average pump price saw month-over-month decline

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WASHINGTON -- Monday's national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.68. This price is a penny less than one week ago, fractions of a penny less expensive than one month ago and 15 cents less than the average price one year ago.

It was the first day since Jan. 11 that the average price at the pump has registered a month-over-month decline, according to the most recent AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

The national average has fallen for five consecutive days and 17 of 19 days since the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on Feb. 27.

As the national average price at the pump has drifted lower, motorists across the country have experienced varying degrees of price relief. Drivers in 38 states and Washington D.C. pay less today than they did last Monday and those in 28 states pay less than one month ago.

Prices in Indiana (11.7 cents), Ohio (9.5 cents), Kentucky (7.3 cents) and Michigan (7.0 cents) are each more than a nickel higher than one week ago, although these are also some of the same states that have seen the largest month-over-month declines. Prices in nine states and Washington, D.C., are at least a dime more than one month ago.

While the recent price movement has varied by state, the year-over-year savings have been nearly universal. Motorists in every state, with the exception of North Dakota, pay less than the same day last year, led by nine states where prices have dropped by at least 20 cents and one state (Illinois) where the price is more than 30 cents lower.

After declining during the second half of February, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have posted slight gains in recent weeks on positive economic news. These gains continued, said AAA, despite traders keeping a wary eye on fresh signs of economic instability in the eurozone, centered on a 10-billion-euro bailout package for Cyprus. Crude oil futures are priced in U.S. dollars. When economies weaken overseas, the dollar strengthens and the price of oil becomes relatively more expensive. Oil futures subsequently become a less attractive investment, which exerts downward pressure on prices. While the value of the U.S. dollar did rise Monday, WTI futures managed to eek out a gain as well, settling 29 cents higher at $93.74 at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX.

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