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Gas prices drop: 24 days and counting

The national average price for a gallon of gas slips to $3.818. Only 10 states are above $4 a gallon, AAA finds. Prices slide 15 cents in past two weeks, Lundberg Survey finds.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Retail gasoline prices fell on average almost a penny overnight, extending declines for the 24th straight day, a survey of gas station credit card swipes showed Sunday.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas fell to $3.818 from $3.826 the previous day, motorist group AAA found. That's down more than 7% from the record high of $4.114 that gas prices hit on July 16.

Gas prices have eased substantially in recent weeks amid signs that global demand for petroleum products is slowing.

But gas prices remain high in historical terms. Friday's national average price is more than $1 higher than it was a year ago.

Diesel. The national average price for diesel fuel, used mostly for transportation and industrial purposes, fell to $4.557 a gallon from $4.57 the day before.

Diesel prices are up nearly 55% from last year's levels, which has contributed to a sharp increase in the prices that consumers pay for goods and services.

Ethanol. While prices for regular and diesel fell overnight, the price of E85, an 85% ethanol blend that burns cleaner than straight gasoline, actually rose 0.3 cents to $3.092 a gallon on average, AAA reported.

Ethanol, which is made from renewable resources like corn, is thought to be more sustainable than gas, but it is less efficient.

As a result, a car that burns E85 would actually pay $4.069 a gallon to get the same mileage as a car that runs on gas, according to AAA.

State prices. Based on data from credit card swipes at 85,000 fuel stations around the country, the AAA survey showed that gas remains above $4 a gallon in 10 states, which is unchanged from Saturday's survey.

In Alaska, the state with the highest prices, drivers pay an average of $4.63 a gallon, up 0.3 cents from a day earlier. Hawaii, the state with the second-highest prices, saw average prices fall 2 cents to $4.45 from $4.45. Californians saw prices slip nearly a penny to $4.13 on average.

Oklahoma and Missouri remained the states with the lowest gas prices. The average price in these two states is $3.58 a gallon, down a penny from the previous day. South Carolina is next lowest, with average prices of $3.61 a gallon, down a penny from the day before, AAA found.

15-cent drop in 2 weeks, Lundberg finds

Meanwhile, gas prices fell nearly 15 cents in the past two weeks, the publisher of a national survey of self-serve regular gasoline prices said Sunday.

The latest Lundberg Survey, carried out on Friday, tallied prices at thousands of gas stations across the country. Publisher Trilby Lundberg put the average price at $3.8472.

The average from the previous survey, from July 25, was $3.9959.

The last time gas prices fell by such a margin was in July of last year, Lundberg said. The survey from July 27, 2007, showed that self-serve regular gas prices fell more than 17 cents from the previous survey to $2.8843.

Lundberg attributed the recent 14.87-cent drop to a decline in the prices of crude oil. On Friday, crude oil closed at $115.02, down more than $30 from its peak price of more than $145 last month, she said.

"If oil falls further we will see it at the pumps," she said, but noted, "If it doesn't, then any further retail price cuts will be smaller," compared with the recent drops.

She noted that the price of diesel also fell by nearly 16 cents in the last two weeks. The survey found the national average of diesel to be $4.6421, she said.

The cheapest gas on the Lundberg Survey could be found in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which had an average of $3.50. Drivers in Anchorage, Alaska, where the average price of gas was $4.37, paid the most.

Here are average prices of a gallon of self-serve regular in some other cities:

  • Honolulu, Hawaii: $4.36
  • Chicago, Illinois: $4.11
  • Los Angeles, California: $4.09
  • Burlington, Vermont: $3.92
  • Portland, Oregon: $3.92
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $3.78
  • Baltimore, Maryland: $3.74
  • Houston, Texas: $3.69
  • Wichita, Kansas: $3.53
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