NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- U.S. road warriors continue to see a big decline in gas prices, with the easing in the pain at the pump across the country matching the freefall in crude oil prices. As European economic concerns have tanked the oil market, all across the U.S. gas prices dropped this week by at least a nickel per gallon, and in many cases, by a dime a gallon.
In fact, it's not just the country's anniversary coming up: Gas prices have slid back to where they were one year ago, going into the July 4th holiday. Then, average national prices for a gallon of gas were at $3.54 per gallon.
Consider the West Coast, where prices at the pump fell 20 cents in the last two weeks, from $4.01 per gallon to $3.82 per gallon.
Or how about the Gulf Coast, where prices have fallen from $3.31 per gallon to $3.19 since June 11?
Gasoline prices have at least declined by ten cents over the past two weeks in the East, Southeast and Midwest, too, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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Some states are still paying the price for fuel, however. Alaska, at $4.13 for a gallon of regular gas, and Hawaii, which is seeing $4.28 per gallon, may be geographical outliers, but Washington state (at $3.69) and California (at $3.70 per gallon) are still significantly above the national average of $3.53 per gallon. Alaska may be synoymous with a new era of arctic drilling, but it could use an oil refinery or two to bring prices down instead of shipping its crude to be refined in California.
While Alaskans smile when it comes time for their annual oil dividend check, smiles will abound for those traveling this holiday week in Alabama and Mississippi, where gas has fallen to $3, and South Carolina, where prices at the pump have broken the $3 barrier and are at $2.94 per gallon.
It’s no coincidence that some of the cheapest gas prices are near or along the Gulf Coast, where an abundance of oil and gas and refining operations tend to make prices cheaper than the rest of the country.
On Friday, crude oil had its biggest rally in recent memory with renewed hopes for a resolution to the Euro Zone economic crisis, with crude oil surging between 7% and 8&. Still, no matter where you’re driving this weekend, you’ll likely be paying lower prices for gas than at any point in 2012.
Along with America’s 236th birthday, that’s worth celebrating.