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Posted: October 23, 2012 7:52 p.m.

Gas prices move closer to 2011 prices

Average retail gasoline prices in Covington have fallen to $3.44 a gallon, as of Tuesday. According to gasoline price website AtlantaGasPrices.com, Atlanta gas prices have not been this low since early August.

The national average has fallen 9.0 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.67/gal and AAA predicts retail gas prices will continue to fall this week.

Southeast gas prices are about 15 cents more than they were this time last year and it's likely prices will reach year-ago levels if this decline continues as expected.

Including the change in gas prices in Atlanta during the past week, prices Sunday were 12.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 15.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

The national average has decreased 14.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 20.1 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"Only one other time in the last few years have we seen the national average drop so significantly in the course of just a week, and that other time was in May 2011," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Looking back at our data, we only see that prices dropped considerably more in autumn 2008 when the economy slipped into a recession. Given the circumstances with this latest weekly decrease - that it has nothing to do with recession - is significant," DeHaan said.

The debt crisis in Europe continues to plague demand numbers overseas and caused the value of the euro to drop which often leads to lower oil prices.

In addition, U.S. oil stockpiles jumped to a two-month high and output is at its highest level in 17 years, according to the Energy Department. At the same time, demand for gasoline has dropped 6.2 percent since August.

A barrel of oil settled Friday at $90.05 on the New York Mercantile Exchange - $1.81 less than the week prior.

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