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Experts expect gas prices to drop at the pump in 2014

Updated: 2014-01-01T13:38:30Z

By Hurst Laviana

The Wichita Eagle

Gasoline prices in Kansas were down in 2013 when compared with 2012 figures, and AAA officials are predicting they will continue to drop in 2014.

“Our hope is that prices will continue to fall as cars grow increasingly fuel efficient and refineries take advantage of the recent boom in domestic oil production,” AAA Kansas spokesman Jim Hanni said Tuesday. “We expect that gas prices will be, on average, lower in 2014 than they were in 2013.”

AAA figures show that the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular dropped from $3.60 in 2012 to $3.49 in 2013. In Kansas, the average dropped from $3.47 in 2012 to $3.39 in 2013.

Wichita motorists began 2013 by paying $3.01 for a gallon of gas, but the price then rose to a yearly high of $3.91 a gallon on May 23. Hanni said tight oil supplies in the Midwest and some unplanned refinery shutdowns helped drive up the cost of gas in the run-up to the Memorial Day weekend.

After that, gas prices in Wichita declined for most of the year and bottomed out at $2.90 a gallon on Nov. 21. Prices rebounded above the $3 mark this week.

Hanni attributed the latest increase to some refinery outages and the fact that the price of crude oil climbed above $100 a barrel late last week. The crude oil price has since dropped back below $100, Hanni said.

AAA figures show that the highest gas prices in 2013 were in Hawaii, where drivers paid an average of $4.24 for a gallon of regular unleaded. The cheapest gas was in South Carolina, where drivers paid an average of $3.24 a gallon.

The average price for the year in Wichita was $3.35, 4 cents below the statewide average.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @hlaviana.

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