SALEM - Gas prices in Salem dropped below $3 per gallon for the first time in almost two years. The price for regular unleaded gas at the Smith Oil service station at 980 E. State St. hit $2.96 Tuesday afternoon after the price at the Circle K store in the 1100 block of E. State St. dropped to $2.97 a gallon for regular gas on Monday.
Local stations compare prices in the city and price their gas accordingly.
The AAA in Pittsburgh said the last time area gas sold at under $3 per gallon was the week of Dec. 21, 2010.
Tuesday's national average of $3.25 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was the lowest price of 2012.
The AAA said the prices have been driven lower by a number of factors, including the switch to winter-blend fuel, which is less expensive to produce; increasing gasoline inventories; cheaper crude oil prices; lower demand; and economic concerns.
In Northeast Ohio gas prices continued to drop 18 cents to $3.188 per gallon and have fallen over 35 cents during the past month.
"Relief is being felt by motorists across the country as pump prices continue to fall approaching the busy year-end holiday travel period," the AAA said, adding that crude oil prices have increased slightly over the last week.
"But they continue to trade lower than the same period in 2011 and have kept downward pressure on retail prices at the pump," the AAA said.
A sampling of area prices show unleaded regular gas was selling in Alliance for $3.199 a gallon; in Ashtabula, $3.29 a gallon; in Niles, $3.28 a gallon and Massillon was at $3.983 a gallon.
At Monday's close of formal trading on the NYMEX, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled at $87.55 per barrel, up 47 cents on the week and $1.99 from last Monday.
Holiday travelers searching for the lowest gas prices can download the free AAA Mobile app for their iPhone, iPad or Android devices, and iPad uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts and access AAA roadside assistance.
Motorists can learn about the AAA Mobile app and AAA Mobile Web at AAA.com/mobile.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org