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Gas prices begin to retreat

Sunday - 9/23/2012, 9:45am  ET

WASHINGTON - Finally some relief at the pump. Gas prices have finally going down after going up for months.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the D.C. area is now $3.79, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic's weekly gas price survey. That's down four cents from a week ago, but still higher than they were a year ago. The average price nationwide is now $3.81.

Gas prices traditionally go down after Labor Day, but starting to rise nationally in July to a nationwide peak of $3.87.

AAA says the switch to the less expensive winter-blend gasoline and lower demand helped bring prices down.

Gasoline prices typically drop in the fall as refiners begin selling winter blends of fuel, which are cheaper than those used in the summer to help curb pollution. This year, however, supplies are tight because of refinery outages in some regions, including the Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Isaac. And the gasoline futures market, which dictates the price at the gas station, has been volatile.

AAA analysts predict gas prices should continue to decline through the end of the year.

Current and past gas prices from AAA

Current Week Ago Year Ago
D.C. Metro $3.79 $3.83 $3.51
D.C. Only $3.94 $3.99 $3.67
National $3.81 $3.86 $3.54

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP & the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)