Gas price decline: Day 25

Gas falls to $3.81 a gallon; remains above $4 in only 9 states, AAA finds.

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By Kenneth Musante, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Retail gasoline prices fell for the 25th day in a row, a survey of gas station credit card swipes showed Monday.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas fell to $3.81 from $3.818 a gallon the previous day, motorist group AAA said.

Gas prices have fallen more than 7% since hitting a record high of $4.114 on July 16, though prices remain more than $1 above year-ago levels.

Gas prices have eased substantially over the last 3-1/2 weeks following a sustained drop in the price of crude oil, gasoline's primary ingredient.

Crude prices rose overnight Monday as a conflict escalated between Russia and Georgia, a former Soviet republic. However, oil futures are still about $30 below the record $147.27 reached on July 11.

Ethanol: The price of E85, an 85% ethanol blend that burns cleaner than straight gasoline, fell 0.2 cents to $3.09 a gallon on average, AAA reported.

Ethanol is made from starchy plants such as corn and is more readily available in the Midwest, where much of the nation's corn is grown.

Ethanol runs less efficiently in so-called flex fuel vehicles that run on both ethanol and gasoline rather than just regular gas. As a result, a vehicle that burns E85 would pay $4.066 a gallon to get the same mileage as with gas, AAA estimated.

Diesel: The average price for diesel fuel, which is used in most trucks and commercial vehicles, fell to $4.537 a gallon from $4.557 the day before.

Because of its use in transporting goods, the price of diesel, which has risen nearly 55% in the last year, has helped drive up the prices of products and services.

State prices. AAA, which bases its survey on credit card swipes at 85,000 fuel stations around the country, found that gas remains above $4 a gallon in 9 states.

In Alaska, the state with the highest prices, drivers paid an average of $4.604, down from $4.63 a gallon the previous day. Hawaii, the state with the second-highest prices, saw average prices fall to $4.444 from $4.45 a gallon, and Californians saw prices slip more than a cent to $4.117 on average.

Missouri had the cheapest gas, with prices falling to $3.568 from $3.58 a gallon. Oklahoma was just a fraction of a cent behind at $3.569 a gallon, AAA found.

Drivers in Hawaii, the state with the most expensive diesel, paid an average of $5.33 a gallon for diesel. Diesel was cheapest in Missouri at an average of $4.276, according to the AAA survey. To top of page

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