By Chris Isidore @CNNMoneyDecember 18, 2012: 6:53 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Consumers are getting some relief at the gas pump, particularly in the middle of the country, as prices could soon fall to levels not achieved since early 2011.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gas has fallen steadily every day for almost four weeks.Tuesday's $3.24 a gallon reading from the AAA was the lowest price so far in 2012 and only three cents away from the price last reachedin February 2011.
Tom Kloza, chief analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said that he thinks the chances are good that prices will reach that nearly two-year low, based on what he's seeing in the wholesale price market. OPIS compiles prices data from 120,000 stations nationwide for AAA. He said the national average ispartly being driven down by better fuel economy, continued high unemployment and an increase in telecommuting, which together have cut consumption about 2% to 3% in the last year. Increased supplies from booming U.S. and Canadian production is also driving down prices.
"Crude oil in the middle of the country is less than $50 a barrel," said Kloza. "Once you get to the coast, the prices are higher, but we've got some very cheap domestic prices."