POSTED: 4:56 a.m. HST, Jun 27, 2012
NEW YORK >> The price of gasoline has dropped to the lowest level in five months, giving drivers some relief ahead of the July 4 holiday.
The national average fell to around $3.38 per gallon today. Gas is now below $3 in South Carolina and under $4 in every other state except for Alaska and Hawaii.
Hawaii's average price of about $4.30 remains the highest in the nation, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Regular gas in Alaska is at $4.16.
Americans are now spending roughly $200 million per day less at the pump than in early April, when gas peaked at $3.94 per gallon.
Hawaii's prices dropped about 32 cents from a record high of $4.62 on April 11. In Honolulu, the average price is about $4.19, according to AAA. Wailuku has the highest average at $4.73, while Hilo's gas prices average $4.27 for regular.
The savings at the pump hasn't encouraged people to drive — or spend — more this summer. They're buying about 5 percent less gasoline than they did last year, even though a gallon is 18 cents cheaper.
Saving a few dollars at the pump also does only so much for consumer psychology.
A private consumer research firm said Americans continue to be rattled by the sluggish economy. The Conference Board's reading of consumer confidence fell in June for the fourth month in a row. It said worries about the unemployment rate, low home values, a shaky stock market and a struggling European economy could hamper consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
Worries about the global economy are keeping oil near 8-month lows.