Gas dips below $4 - first time in 7 weeks
Gasoline prices declined for the 9th straight day, falling 2 cents to $3.983 a gallon.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gas prices declined for the 9th straight day, falling below $4 a gallon for the first time in seven weeks, according to a nationwide survey Saturday by motorist group AAA.
Gasoline: The price of regular unleaded gasoline dropped 2 cents to $3.983 a gallon on average, according to AAA's daily survey of credit card swipes at filling stations.
Americans have seen their pocketbooks stretched thin on the back of record high fuel prices and the churning economy.
Average gasoline prices first crossed the $4 mark on June 7 when they hit $4.005 a gallon. Surging oil prices kept gas on an upward trajectory, with prices hitting a record high of $4.114 on July 16. Prices stayed there for two days before starting to retreat.
Ethanol: High fuel prices have caused many drivers, particularly those in states with strong agricultural industries, to switch to ethanol. The price of E85, an 85% ethanol blend, which burns cleaner than pure gasoline and is made primarily from corn, fell to $3.231 a gallon from $3.238. While ethanol is derived from renewable sources, it is less efficient than gasoline. Subsequently, a car running on E85 would pay the equivalent of $4.252 per gallon to get the same mileage as gas, the AAA survey estimated.
Diesel: The average price of diesel fuel, which is used to power most trucks and commercial vehicles, fell as well to $4.757 a gallon from $4.774, according to the AAA survey. Diesel remains more than 60% higher than last year. Because of its use in transporting goods, high prices for diesel have affected the prices of other items.