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Pump prices maintain downward slope

Most motorists will welcome lower gasoline prices as the holidays draw near.

The average retail price for a gallon of unleaded, regular gasoline keeps falling in the state of Georgia, said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA’s The Auto Club Group.

Peach State drivers can expect to pay $3.13 a gallon, an 8-cent decrease from last week.

Florida’s average price is $3.26 a gallon, 4 cents less than the week before, she said. Tennessee’s is $3.05 a gallon, and the nation’s is $3.21 a gallon, both are 5 cents less than the previous week.

“Retail gas prices are forecast to decrease further as we near the year-end holiday travel period — a welcomed gift to motorists,” she said.

“Although gas prices are almost 20 percent more than they were last year, they are substantially less than this year’s peak price of $3.98 a gallon.”

Crude oil settled at $93.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Dec. 16, she said. This is a 6-cent fall from the week prior.

The downward path of oil prices is caused by Europe’s ongoing debt issues and gloomy economic prospective, she said.

The dollar rose after the euro’s value fell, switching the appeal of oil as a commodity. Prices also declined after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries consented to raise output quotas to 30 million barrels a day to handle expected growth ahead.