WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A division of the U.S. Energy Department said the national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline could soon move below the $3 mark.
Motor club AAA reports a national average price Thursday of $3.01, 32 cents less than one month ago. Lower crude oil prices and seasonal demand issues are in part responsible for the declining price at the pump.
The department's Energy Information Administration said its sentiment was consistent with price watchers like AAA, which are showing the average statewide price moving below the $3 mark for more than half of all U.S. states.
"Current market prices and conditions indicate that a U.S. average retail price below the symbolic $3 per gallon mark is possible in the coming weeks," EIA said in a Wednesday report.
EIA said wholesale gasoline prices are following the trend set by crude oil prices, which are down about 20 percent from their June values, and that, too, adds to lower prices at the pump.
South Carolina had the lowest state average for Thursday with $2.76 per gallon. EIA explains prices vary by region because of proximity to refineries and state taxes.
California had the highest price for the Lower 48 with $3.34, down 35 cents from one month ago.