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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gas prices dropped to a four-year low for the month of September, according to the latest AAA Monthly Gas Price Report. The national average price for regular gasoline was $3.39 per gallon, which was 13 cents less than last year and 44 cents less than 2012.
"American drivers will have a bit more money to spend or use on savings as gas prices continue to fall," said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. "It is a nice relief for most of us to pay a little less than in recent years to fill up at the gas station."
Gas prices have declined approximately 10 cents per gallon since the start of September, with the daily average falling 24 out of 30 days. This marks the fourth year in a row that gas prices fell in September.
Prices typically decline in September as demand drops and gas stations begin offering cheaper winter-blend gasoline. The lack of Atlantic hurricanes striking the U.S. coastline also avoided price increases caused by supply disruption.
Additionally, gas prices have dropped 35 cents per gallon since June 28 despite a busy summer driving season and conflict in the Middle East, according to the report.
In recent weeks, it is increasingly common for gas stations to offer fuel at less than $3 per gallon in some parts of the country, AAA said. At least one gas station is selling gasoline at $3 or less in 26 states, and 4 percent of U.S. gas stations overall are selling gas in this price range. This figure is likely to increase significantly over the next two months.
"Gas prices could fall another 20 cents per gallon by the time families load up the car for Thanksgiving," Ash said. "If everything goes smoothly, buying gas for less than $3 per gallon should be refreshingly common in many parts of the country this winter."
The national average gas price could drop to $3.10 to $3.20 per gallon before the end of 2014, according to AAA's forecast, which would mark the closest the average has come to $3 since 2010.
Oklahoma currently has the most gas stations with prices under $3, with nearly three in 10 selling gas under that price as of Tuesday. South Carolina and Missouri are the next two states with the most gas stations priced below $3, with nearly one in five in that price range.
The five states with the highest average prices are Hawaii ($4.20 per gallon), Alaska ($3.92), California ($3.70), Washington ($3.69) and Oregon ($3.69), while the five states with the lowest average prices are Missouri ($3.09), South Carolina ($3.09), Mississippi ($3.10), Tennessee ($3.12) and Virginia ($3.13).