Gas prices inch lower, but still way above the June average

Gas prices fall now but could climb before New Year

Historically, year-end gas prices "tend to be relatively cheap" due to a drop-off in fall gasoline demand around Labor Day and the move to "cheaper to produce" winter-blend gasoline in mid-September.

After a somewhat volatile month for prices at the pump in November, gas prices opened December on the decline, the auto group AAA said this week.

Gas prices have dropped significantly the last few weeks, now at an average of $2.32. The decline is at least partly fueled by rising rig counts in the United States, likely coming as a result of higher oil prices that were fueled by OPEC's year-old production cuts which have caused a drop of almost 120 million barrels in USA oil inventories versus last year.

States with the lowest average gas prices: Alabama ($2.20), MS ($2.21), Missouri ($2.22), Oklahoma ($2.23), SC ($2.24), Arkansas ($2.24), Tennessee ($2.26), Texas ($2.26), Louisiana ($2.28) and Virginia ($2.31).

Motor club AAA lists a national average retail price for regular unleaded gasoline at $2.48 per gallon for Tuesday, the lowest price in more than a month.

Ohio's gas prices were down 8.9 cents since last week's average. Prices increased 43 cents during the year in Montana, Wyoming, Hawaii and North Dakota, the AAA said. Moving into 2018, market watchers will track domestic oil production investment in the U.S.to determine how much OPEC's latest announcement will influence the market, AAA said. "Oil prices are at their highest point of the year, preventing the typical seasonal plunge at the pump". Last week, Patrick DeHaan, a senior analyst at GasBuddy, said, in essence, there are "more hands in the cookie jar" when it comes to US oil and gasoline supplies.

"Motorists should enjoy the falling prices now because it's likely that prices may again rise approaching the New Year as oil prices continue to show strength", DeHaan said.

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