“The price of gas drops several cents again this week, with the national average and the Oregon average both at $3.01 per gallon for regular unleaded.” AAA Oregon Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds says, ” The national average is down five cents this week, while Oregon′s average has dropped five and one half cents. The price of crude is about $89 per barrel today, down from $92 last week.

Oil and wholesale gas prices are declining on concerns that economies around the world are slowing and that demand for energy will decrease. This morning the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank cut interest rates, and retail prices at the pumps may move a few cents lower in the coming days. Overall, AAA expects to see lower energy prices in the next few weeks. Demand in the U.S. for gasoline seems to be slowing for the first time since 2001 without a specific reason. Other periods of reduced demand this decade were attributed to 9/11, concern over the start of the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina. This time the slowdown seems to be more reminiscent of the mid-1970s and early 80s when Americans cut back on driving due to high fuel prices and a downturn in the economy.

We′re still paying much more for gas than we were a year ago. Last year at this time, the national average was almost 85 cents lower than it is now, and the Oregon average was about 44 cents lower.

Gas prices this week are down in all four of Oregon′s measured metropolitan areas, and in Vancouver, WA. In Eugene/Springfield, prices are down nine cents. In Portland, prices are down seven cents, and in Salem, Medford/Ashland and Vancouver, prices are down six cents this week.

Oregon′s gas prices are now 23rd highest in the nation, down from 19th highest last week, while Washington has the 9th most expensive gas in the nation this week at $3.12. Hawaii continues to have the most expensive gas in the country at $3.47 per gallon, followed by New York at $3.29, Connecticut at $3.23, California at $3.23,and Alaska at $3.20. Missouri has the least expensive gas in the country again this week at $2.78 per gallon. At this time, 24 states have average prices below $3 per gallon, compared to 19 states last week.

The price of diesel has also declined in the past week. Oregon′s average diesel price is down seven cents to $3.33 per gallon, compared to $2.78 a year ago. The national average for diesel is down about three cents this week to $3.39, compared with $2.55 last year. Hawaii has the highest statewide average price for diesel at $3.90.

For a comparison of fuel prices across the nation, go to the AAA Fuel Price Finder at AAA.com. An audio version of this release is available on the AAA audio newsline at (503) 222-6397.