RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
It's getting cheaper to fill your gas tank. The average price of gasoline has fallen nearly 45 cents a gallon in the last 12 weeks.
NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
SCOTT HORSLEY: Price signs outside the nation's gas stations have been changing frequently in recent weeks. And every time a new number goes up, it's lower than the one before. The Energy Department says gas prices tumbled nearly seven cents a gallon in the last week to a national average of about 2.77. Even in costly California, the average price is now below $3 a gallon for the first time in five months. Refineries are recovering from a spate of outages earlier this year, putting more gasoline on the market.
That's a relief for drivers, says Jeff Sundstrom of AAA.
Mr. JEFF SUNDSTROM (Spokesman, American Automobile Association): Certainly, you know, we want to see the price come down. You know, we're hopeful that there will be adequate gasoline in the fall. We won't have a repeat of the hurricanes we had a couple of years ago. You know, we're keeping our fingers crossed.
HORSLEY: Tax records in California show when prices were topping $3.30 a gallon in April, drivers did cut back a bit. Consumption fell by a little less than one percent. Sundstrom says drivers shouldn't give up those thrifty habits just because gas is getting cheaper.
Mr. SUNDSTROM: Over the long term, you know, all the forecasts are that the world's energy demand overall will push the price of oil higher so, you know, our need to be energy efficient is a long-term lifestyle change.
HORSLEY: With falling demand after Labor Day, the Energy Department expects gas prices to keep dropping for the rest of the year to about 2.64 a gallon. The average price of crude oil will be higher than last year's, though, and next year's crude prices will be higher still.
Scott Horsley, NPR News.
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