Experts say gas prices will likely drop this week

NEW ORLEANS, LA - Experts believe gasoline prices will drop this week, although drivers could be in for rising prices in the months ahead.

Many drivers in the New Orleans area are finding stores and stations offering prices below the $3-a-gallon mark.  The cheapest prices, according to can be found at Costco and Sam's, both selling regular unleaded gasoline for $2.93 a gallon.  The  highest price for gasoline in the metro area is $3.39 a gallon.

According to, the average price in New Orleans is up 2.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.09 a gallon.  That's according to the website's daily survey of 415 gas outlets in New Orleans. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.27 a gallon.

Including the change in gas prices in New Orleans during the past week, prices yesterday were 7.8 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 6.1 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 4.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 1 cent per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"The national average has picked up some downward momentum over the last week," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "It's likely that during this week, we will see gasoline prices again drop below their year ago levels yet again. However, as we're approaching February, the most recent drops will likely reverse as refineries begin their maintenance season, which will see refineries doing critical work preparing for summer at the expense of gasoline output, which will be a contributing factor to an upward rise in gas prices. Motorists should expect more volatility in late-February through May as the market generally reacts to any unexpected production related issues, and there are generally several issues each year," DeHaan said.

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