Gas prices extend decline for 7th day

Prices are now down 10% from the July record high but remain roughly 32% above year-ago levels.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gas prices retreated for the seventh day in a row, nearing pre-Ike levels, according to a nationwide survey of credit card swipes at gasoline stations.

The average price of unleaded regular dropped 1.1 cents to $3.715 a gallon, from $3.726 a gallon, according to the survey released Wednesday by motorist group AAA.

While prices have now dropped some 14 cents and have stayed below the key $4 level for some time now, they still remain higher from a year ago, when gas was selling for less than $3 a gallon.

Current prices are about 90 cents, or 32%, higher from a year earlier at this time, when gas was selling for $2.81 a gallon. And prices are just roughly 6 cents shy of levels seen before Ike slammed through the Gulf of Mexico.

However, prices have come way down from the high levels seen mid-summer. Gas is now selling for about 40 cents less than the record high price of $4.114 a gallon set on July 17. That's roughly a 10% decline.

Gas prices had been moving higher following the devastation left behind by hurricanes Ike and Gustav. But with hurricane season more than halfway done and the high summer driving season over, the downward trend for gas prices may continue.

Prices for gasoline also tend to follow oil prices, which had been moving lower since mid-July amid weakening demand. In fact, crude prices have dropped some 27% from their record of near $150 just two months ago.

Oil prices had been moving lower since mid-July amid weakening demand, losing more than a third of its value since it reached a record of near $150 just two months ago.

However, in the past week, prices have reversed course and on Monday, posted the biggest one-day dollar gain ever. But by Tuesday, the euphoria gave way to more somber trading, with prices edging nearly $3 lower. Prices were up about $2 a barrel to the $108 level early Wednesday.

Meanwhile, only two states continue to report gas prices above $4 a gallon: Alaska and Georgia. Alaska continues to be the state with the most expensive gas prices, at $4.308 a gallon. The cheapest gas can still be found in New Jersey, where gas cost $3.434 a gallon, according to AAA's Web site. To top of page

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