WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The high rate of North American crude oil production helped U.S. consumers in 2013 recover from the highest retail gasoline prices on record, AAA said Monday.
AAA reported a national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline of $3.22, six cents cheaper than the same time last year. For the year, AAA said the national average so far was $3.50 per gallon.
"Last year the annual average was $3.60 per gallon, which was the highest of all time," AAA spokesman Michael Green said in response to e-mailed questions. "Most drivers have paid cheaper gas prices this year because refineries increased capacity to take advantage of increased North American crude oil supplies."
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a Dec. 10 market report the average rate of U.S. crude oil production for November was 8 million barrels per day, the highest monthly level in 25 years. Similar trends were observed in the Canadian oil sector.
Green said gasoline prices were moving lower as the year winds down.
"The national average price of gas has declined 16 out of the previous 19 days for a total of about 6 cents per gallon," he said. "Five states are paying an average of less than $3 per gallon including Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Oklahoma."