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$3 gas could make a comeback

Rate of decline in price a short-term record.

By Daniel J. Graeber

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Analyses from GasBuddy and AAA show U.S. retail gasoline prices are plummeting and could reach $3 per gallon in some markets by the end of the year.

AAA reports a national retail average price for a gallon of regular unleaded of $3.37, down 6 cents from one week ago and 14 cents less than this date in 2013.

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Gasoline prices typically slide after the Labor Day holiday in the United States as demand subsides with the summer vacation season ending. Prices drop even further after Sept. 15, when national refineries shift to a winter blend of gasoline, which is less expensive to make

Oil prices have stayed below $100 per barrel in recent trading, which AAA said suggests the global market is shrugging off geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

AAA said Tuesday the recent rate of decline for prices at the pump is the steepest in more than four months and prices at the pump, relatively speaking, are the cheapest they've been since 2010.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for pump watcher GasBuddy, said there are already some retail centers selling gas for less than $3 per gallon, but they're relatively few for the time being.

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"You may not see $3 per gallon gas if you live in California, New York, Connecticut, or Chicago," he said in a statement. "But we believe that more than 30 states could see prices fall below that number during the Christmas shopping season."

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