Gas prices fall below $3, and experts expect it to continue - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Gas prices fall below $3, and experts expect it to continue

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NEW ORLEANS - We do a lot of stories on rising gas prices, so it's nice when we can tell you about a change in direction. On Monday, gas prices for regular unleaded were 15 cents lower on average in Louisiana than they were the previous month.

Representatives from AAA project the downward trend to hold on for a while.

If you're the type of person that dreads heading in for a fill-up, you may get a pleasant surprise at the pump. Many gas stations are seeing prices below the $3 mark for regular unleaded.

"It's really a welcomed relief coming at the right time, right around the holidays, and again the good news is it could potentially continue this downward trend where we could see prices we haven't seen since 2010," said Don Redman of AAA Louisiana. "In December 2010, the statewide average was about $2.84 a gallon. That really could be in our future in the coming weeks and months."

"I've noticed, and I'm loving it," said driver Elaine Gootee.

"That would be great," said driver Joseph Kimble. "We need that break. When I pulled up just now and saw $2.99, I was shocked."

Redman said several factors are helping to keep prices down. He cited the mild hurricane season with no massive storms disrupting refineries, a lull in unrest in the Middle East, and in October the United States became No. 2 in world production of crude oil.

"Cheap fuel is an economic stimulus for the family," Redman said. "It's now not so much money. When you get to gas prices of $3.50 or more per gallon on average, you are taking out $50 to $100 per month from the family budget that could go to other things are going just for fuel. When you start getting prices at $3 a gallon or even below $3 a gallon, that frees up a lot more money.

"There's a concern now, there's some talk about Israel may have a preemptive launch against Iran about their nuclear arms capability, but barring all that I think the market is pretty much settled," according to Redman. He said that would be the only major game-changer, but any major action in the Middle East would have a huge effect.

Gasbuddy.com is reporting five states already below the $3 average for regular unleaded, and if that continues you may be seeing a little bit more change in your pocket come Christmas time.

The national average for regular unleaded gas dropped just under 13 cents in the last month; when you look at it year to year, a gallon cost just over 24 cents less than this date in 2012.

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