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Gas prices down in anemic economy

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Gas prices dropped over the past week in Connecticut, improving the state's summertime ranking as one of the highest priced in the continental U.S.

On Monday, Connecticut's average for regular gasoline was $3.74 a gallon, less than California, Washington and Oregon, as well as Alaska and Hawaii, which are typically the highest in the country, according to AAA. In the Norwich-New London region, prices were even lower, at $3.64 a gallon.

In mid-July, Connecticut had passed California as the priciest state, on average, for regular gasoline in the continental United States, at $4.03 a gallon.

This fall, California has retaken that spot, at $3.83 a gallon, followed by Washington at $3.82 and Oregon at $3.79, according to statistics from the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. Hawaii ranks highest, at more than $4.24 a gallon, followed by Alaska at $3.96.

(It's) "an honor we're happy to cede to them," said AAA spokesman Jim MacPherson, citing insecurities in the global economy as the primary reason for falling prices.

Monday's $3.74 a gallon was 7 cents less than the price a week ago and nearly 21 cents less than it was a month ago. A year ago, however, gas prices were 92 cents cheaper, at $2.82 a gallon.

The low prices are not necessarily a good sign, however, MacPherson said.

"I wish it were good news, but unfortunately, as you can see, we're nearly $1 a gallon above where we were a year ago, so while prices are down, they're also up. It depends on your timeframe," he said.

Crude oil prices have dropped below $80 per barrel but that's because demand has softened because of the recession, MacPherson said.

"There's a lot of insecurity as people look ahead to the global economy," he added.

p.daddona@theday.com

Gas prices at a glance

$3.74
Average price per gallon, Connecticut

$3.64
Average price per gallon, Norwich-New London area

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