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Albany motorists continue to see lower pump prices

The national average for gas could drop to $3.05 by Christmas, some experts believe

ALBANY — Metro Albany opened the week in a familiar spot among Georgia’s eight metro areas, ranking third best in the average price of a gallon of retail gasoline.

According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, motorists in metro Albany were averaging $3.126 a gallon at the pump Monday, a 4 cent improvement from last week and 10.5 cents below what motorists in Albany were paying last month. Year-to-year, Albany motorists are saving 7.2 cents a gallon.

As windshield survey of gas stations saw most were selling gas at prices between $3.099 and $3.129.

The Macon metro area led the state as far as cheap gas Monday with an average of $3.059. The Valdosta metro area nudged out Albany by a half-cent for the No. 2 spot. The most expensive gas Monday was in metro Athens, where motorists were paying an average of $3.207.

Statewide, according to the Fuel Gauge Report, motorists could expect to pay $3.174 at the pump, down 5.4 cents from last week and a 6.7-cent savings from last month. A year ago, Georgia motorists were averaging $3.198 a gallon. GasBuddy.com, which surveys 5,883 Georgia gas outlets, calculated a similar decrease, setting the average cost at $3.16 on Sunday. That was down 4.8 cents from the previous Sunday.

Nationally, the Fuel Gauge Report said the average cost of retail gas was $3.186 a gallon, down 6.6 cents from last week and 15.9 cents from last month. A year ago, drivers in the United States were looking at an average cost of $3.439. GasBuddy said the national average according to its survey was $3.20 on Sunday, down 5.4 cents from the previous week.

Both AAA and GasBuddy experts said they expect prices to continue declining through the winter holidays.

“Gas prices across many communities are now the lowest since they’ve been since the Libryan crisis in February of 2011. Nearly 15 percent of all stations in the U.S. are now selling gasoline under the psychologically important $3 a gallon level,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “Last year on this date saw just 1 percent of stations selling under that level, so motorists aren’t doing too shabby.

“States that saw the largest declines last week were Montana, Ohio, and Indiana, all where prices declined at least 15 cents per gallon. Several stations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which features the cheapest gas in the U.S. are selling at a mere $2.45 a gallon, a number so low that had you said that just six weeks ago, motorists would have been shaking their heads in disbelief. Prices nationally could drop to as little as $3.05 a gallon by Christmas.”

Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA The Auto Club Group, said it’s unlikely that the low prices will impact Thanksgiving travelers plans.

“Fuel prices are forecast to decrease further this week, bringing even lower prices as the holiday nears,” Brady said. “Even with the decrease in price, the cost of gas is unlikely to have a major impact on people’s travel plans.”