Gas prices fall, economic boost may come

Darci Marchese,
Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON – Gas prices are dropping, and the lower prices could result in an economic boost.

The latest WTOP Pain in the Gas Survey shows the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline in the area is $3.89, down 8 cents from last week. One year ago this week unleaded regular was $4.13 a gallon.

The survey finds mid-grade dropped 8 cents to $4.10 a gallon. Premium is down by 5 cents to $4.24. Diesel prices also are down by 8 cents.

The average for regular fuel this week is cheapest in Virginia, where regular is down to $3.82. The average is just a cent higher in Maryland at $3.83. Gas is $4.02 in the District.

A separate survey, done by AAA Mid-Atlantic, finds gasoline prices dropped an average of 4 cents in the last week and are down 20 cents a gallon across the country from a year ago. The latest AAA Mid-Atlantic survey shows unleaded regular hovering at about $3.78 a gallon.

University of Maryland economist and professor Peter Morici says if gas goes down to $3.50 a gallon or below, it could spur job creation.

“People will go to restaurants more, maybe buy a few more clothes,” Morici says.

That may give the economy a lift economists weren’t expecting and be the difference between the economy creating 120,000 jobs a month versus 180,000 or 200,000.

Some oil experts have predicted gasoline prices could actually drop to $3.00 a gallon or less before the summer is over.

To find the cheapest gas, search for it by your Zip Code on WTOP.

Tell others where you found the best prices. Tweet using #WTOPgas.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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