Gas Prices Have Sharpest July Drop in 6 Years

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The average price of a gallon of gasoline fell by nearly $0.14 in July, from $3.753 at the beginning of the month to $3.617 at the end. Not since 2008 has the difference in price of a gallon of gas fallen that much. And in 2008, the month started at an average price of $4.165 before falling to $4.01 by the end.

In the past seven years, only 2008, 2009 and this year have seen average gasoline prices drop. In the other four years they gained from a little (about two cents a gallon in 2010) to a lot (nearly 19 cents in 2013). The data come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The AAA reported earlier this week that the price of regular unleaded gasoline fell on 30 of July’s 31 days, the first time on record that has happened. As of today, July 31, the national average price has dropped about $0.17 a gallon in the month, according to AAA.

Only two states — Hawaii and Alaska — now have gasoline prices that average more than $4 a gallon. Even California is enjoying a respite, with an average of $3.98 a gallon.

As a AAA spokesman points out, gasoline prices usually rise in July because July and August are the peak vacation travel months. This year, though, refineries are running nearly flat out, and there is plenty of gasoline available in the market. Refinery throughput has averaged 16.5 million barrels a day for the past four weeks, and there has been no weather disruption to Gulf of Mexico production yet.

The average price of a gallon of gas through the first seven months of 2014 is $3.53, down from $3.57 a year ago and the lowest figure for that period since 2010.

The states with the highest gasoline prices are Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.13), California ($3.98), Oregon and Washington (both at $3.92). The five states with the lowest prices are South Carolina ($3.25), Alabama ($3.26), Tennessee ($3.29) and Oklahoma and Missouri (both at $3.30).

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