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Metro Albany gas cheapest in state

For the third Monday out of the last four, motorists in metro Albany awoke to the lowest average gas pump price of Georgia’s eight metropolitan statistical areas.

On Monday, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas was $3.123 in Albany, a drop of 4.3 cents from last Monday and 10.4 cents below the state average. The highest average price of the state’s metro areas was Atlanta, where motorists averaged $3.255.

In a windshield tour of local gas stations, prices were cheaper on the east side, with the lowest price of $3.039 a gallon at the four stations on East Oglethorpe Boulevard from Liberty Expressway to Mock Road. Also, the three stations closest to the Clark Avenue-Cordele Road intersection were at $3.039.

Other stations in East Albany ranged from $3.059 to $3.079, rising to $3.129 at the river.

Nationally, the Fuel Gauge Report found the average cost at the pump was $3.346, down 5.3 cents from last Monday and 23.2 cents from last month. In October 2012, the average price was $3.814. Georgia’s Monday price was down 2.8 cents from the previous Monday and 27.2 cents from last month. Last year, state motorists were paying an average of $3.579.

Albany, meanwhile, saw a 4.2-cent week-to-week decline. Monday’s average was 26.1 cents below last month and 40.6 cents cheaper than last year.

There’s a possibility Albany motorists could see prices dip below the $3 mark at some stations. Already some customers who purchase gas cards from stations get a discount that brings their cost per gallon to $2.98. AAA officials think the downward push will continue.

“Weakened demand and the government shutdown continue to dampen the economic outlook and push oil prices lower,” said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA, The Auto Club Group. “Gas prices would have dropped further had Tropical Storm Karen not caused oil platforms to make precautionary shutdowns in the Gulf.

“Now that Karen has passed, motorists will likely see pump prices drop further this week.”

Brady said that on Sunday the national average dropped to its lowest since Jan. 28, when prices were on the rise. Georgia’s Monday average was its lowest for the year.

Another factor that can influence pump prices — crude oil — declined Monday. After settling at $103.84 a barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, November crude fell 81 cents a barrel Monday, closing at $103.03 on the NYMEX.

Another organization that closely watches pump prices, GasBuddy.com, found average gas prices in Georgia on Sunday had fallen 2.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.22. GasBuddy, which surveys 5,883 gas outlets in Georgia, said that compared to the national average of $3.38, a decline of 4.2 cents over the week.

Georgia’s Sunday prices were 34.9 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and were 26.6 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, according to GasBuddy’s survey. The national average had decreased 21.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stood at 41.9 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

“The national average has continued its decline which has been continuing for 34 consecutive days,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “And the odds are very good that prices will continue to decline in most areas in the week ahead.

“Perhaps most notable at this point of decline is how much cheaper gas prices stand versus the same date last year, with motorists realizing prices that are 50 cents or more lower. Much of the difference can be blamed on more active Atlantic waters last year that brought more storms than what we’ve seen this year.”

The remnants of Karen went through the Albany area Monday, bringing heavy rain at times. Chances of rain decreased for the evening. Today, various weather sources were predicting anywhere from a 20 percent to 40 percent chance for rain.