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NEW YORK -- Leaves may not be the only thing falling this autumn as experts predict that gas prices could fall below the $3 mark.
According to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, the national average stands at $3.45 today. It fell 2 cents overnight and dropped a dramatic 47 cents from this year's high in April. The decrease is a sharp contrast to the $5-per-gallon fears expressed by many in early spring.
However, as USA Today reported, with crude oil at its lowest price per barrel since October 2011 and slumping wholesale gasoline contracts for fall delivery, "the market is suggesting gas below $3 by Halloween and certainly by Thanksgiving," explained Tom Kloza with the Oil Price Information Service.
This marks the 11th straight week that gas prices have fallen and the trend is expected to continue as oil inventories remain at a 21-year high and consumer demand remains low, the newspaper added. The end of the peak driving summer after Labor Day will help as well.
"Demand just isn't there," said Brian Milne of Televent DTN, pointing to an Energy Department report that demand for fuel over the past four weeks has dropped 5 percent below year ago levels. "It's been dreadful."
But AAA predicts the demand could tick up for the July 4th holiday. It said an estimated 42.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home over the July 4 period, which runs from July 3 to July 8, according to USA Today. That figure is up nearly 5 percent from last year and almost 42 percent from 2009.