Gas Prices Continue to Fall in Area

$2 average now seen in some states

The price of a gallon of gas continues to drop throughout the country, with the average price in the Washington region now at $2.34, according to AAA.

The average price has dropped 20 cents from a week ago and 65 cents from a year ago when oil was $96 a barrel.  Crude oil sold for just over $61 a barrel on Friday.

The national average for a gallon of gas is now $2.26.

Drivers are seeing more stations selling gas for below $2 per gallon, according to AAA.  The Norfolk-Virginia Beach area has more than 50 stations with prices below $2, including some as low as $1.85.

Missouri has the lowest prices in the country.  The average price in the state is less than $2.

Overall, retail gas prices are about 45 percent lower than they were at July's record of $4.11.

The last time gas was under $2 per gallon was in 2005, according to AAA.

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What is causing the price drop?  Demand went down in the U.S. due to weak economic reports, although AAA said demand is starting to inch back up.  China is also going through an economic slowdown and expects to see near zero oil demand growth in 2009, AAA reported.

"AAA believes that lower gas prices are still in the offing and $2 a gallon as a national average is still possible before the end of the year." said Lon Anderson of AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Much will depend on whether motorists remain conservative and drive less than they did last year and also whether oil and gas producers try to balance supply and demand by cutting production."

OPEC said it will trim production starting this month and further cuts are possible to help boost prices, AAA reported.

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