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AAA: June to bring lower prices at pump

While the rate of decline has slowed in recent weeks, gas prices continue to fall almost unimpeded, according to officials with AAA’s The Auto Club Group.

AAA’s Jessica Brady said the auto club group anticipates gas prices will continue to fall in June, barring any major events in the world that would encourage investment or increase demand.

Brady noted that, last week, crude oil prices tumbled to their lowest settlement since October 2011, ebbing down near $83 a barrel as reported through Bloomberg.com’s Stock Market & Financial Markets Overview. The result was retracted confidence among investors in the face of unfavorable economic news.

The AAA spokeswoman also noted one cause of the decline — the sobering news reported by the U.S. Labor Department that the national unemployment rate rose in May, from 8.1 percent to 8.2 percent.

Brady said the economy’s impact on crude oil, however, is a global concern.

“Across the globe, pessimistic job reports and demand numbers have added nothing but bearish pressure to the market during the past several weeks,” said Brady. “Europe’s debt crisis continues to worsen and has pushed their unemployment levels to record highs, caused the value of the euro to plummet, and demand numbers to fall.

“China, the second largest oil-consuming country, is not faring any better with both manufacturing and demand numbers down,” she added. “While none of this is good news, at least it has caused gas prices to fall, providing some relief to motorists.”

Motorists are paying, on average, a quarter less per gallon for gas in metro Atlanta than they did a month ago, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. It amounts to at least a couple of dollars in savings each time the motorist fills up, compared to May prices.

The report revealed that gas prices are averaging $3.56 per gallon for regular unleaded gas nationally. A year ago, at this time, the national average was $3.76. Also, in metro Atlanta, drivers are paying about $3.36 per gallon for regular unleaded gas, compared to $3.65 per gallon this time last year.

Brady said gas prices are forecast to retreat further in the coming weeks, as they continue to undercut prices from a year ago.