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It’s Driving Season. Why are Gas Prices Tumbling?

After spring run-up, U.S. motorists are catching an unexpected break at the pump.

by on May.30, 2012

Fuel prices have tumbled 27 cents a gallon since their early April peak and the trend is downward.

It wasn’t all that long ago that American motorists were being greeted with shrill headlines forecasting $4, even $5-a-gallon gas by summer.

It certainly seemed plausible after the rapid run-up during late winter and early spring, prices at the pump coming within pennies of the all-time record set back in July 2008.  But a funny thing happened just as the traditional driving season approached: fuel prices began to tumble and the downward trend may well continue through the summer.

Over the Memorial Day holiday various tracking services showed that fuel prices dipped to around $3.65 a gallon, about 27 cents lower than their national peak in early April.

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“Had you asked me back in January if the national average would have been that low on Memorial Day, I likely would have chuckled,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior analyst with GasBuddy.com.  Looking forward, he told TheDetroitBureau.com, “prices could go either way,” depending upon a variety of factors, though for now, the trend appears to be downward.

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