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State’s gas prices drop to under $3 per gallon

Minnesota’s average gas price Thursday dipped to $3 per gallon for the first time in nearly a year as cheaper crude oil and strong refinery production merge with declining demand by drivers. listed the statewide average for self-service, unleaded regular gasoline at $3, at least for part of the day. Prices ranged from as low as $2.82 in Coon Rapids to $3.19 in Warroad and Edina.

That’s down from the $4.28 per gallon it cost in May, when global crude oil prices were higher and at least one Minnesota refinery had slowed production.

It’s the lowest price in Minnesota since gas was $2.94 per gallon in early January.

Experts say the $3 per gallon ballpark could be the new normal, at least into early 2014, with crude oil production up and prices down. Monthly estimated domestic crude oil output averaged 7.7 million barrels per day in October, the highest production for any October in 25 years, while oil imports were 7.6 million barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In October, as predicted by the EIA, the U.S. produced more crude oil than it imported for the first month since early 1995.

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