Gas is 20 cents cheaper than last year - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Gas is 20 cents cheaper than last year

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The national average price for a gallon of unleaded gas has fallen 3 cents from last week. (Source: luna715/Flickr) The national average price for a gallon of unleaded gas has fallen 3 cents from last week. (Source: luna715/Flickr)
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(RNN) - Gas prices continue their downward trend this week, with a gallon of unleaded gas priced 20 cents cheaper than it was at the same time last year, according to the automotive group AAA.

Around this time last year, the national average price for a gallon of gas peaked at $3.98. This week the national average is $3.78 for the same fuel.

The price is 3 cents cheaper than the average prices last week.

"Retail gas prices are likely to continue their downward trend in May, which is good news for those who plan to travel for the upcoming holiday weekend," AAA spokesperson Jessica Brady said.

The price for a barrel of oil also has fallen, coming in under $100 for the first time since February. On May 4, a barrel was priced at $98.49, $6.44 less than last week and $1.31 less than prices last year, according to the Energy Department.

AAA attributes the fall in gas prices to low job growth nationwide. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found 115,000 jobs were added in April - thousands short of the 160,000 economists expected, and much lower than the 154,000 added in March.

The job numbers imply there will be less demand for gas in the coming weeks, although last week, demand was standard for this time of the year, according to the Energy Department.

The Energy Department also said U.S. crude oil inventories are currently at 375.9 million barrels - on the higher end of the average number of barrels held during this time of year.

Although gas prices rose almost every day in January and February, the country has seen prices slowly fall back down through April and now May.

Last week, AAA said 10 states were bucking the trend, with higher gas prices than the year before. Three of those states - Hawaii, Vermont and Wyoming - now have lower average state prices than they saw the year before.

In Alaska, Oregon and Washington, prices are about the same as they were last week, while Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana and Vermont saw lower prices. Idaho is still struggling through higher gas prices, although averages have hit the same level they were at last year.

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