Falling gas prices

State average for a gallon of regular on Dec. 29: $2.475

Lewiston-Auburn metro average on Dec. 29: $2.41

National average on Dec. 29: $2.27

State average one month ago: $2.92

State average one year ago: $3.53

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For more information: http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/states/maine/

Source: AAA of Northern New England

LEWISTON — Gas was $2.26 a gallon at Berube’s Complete Auto Care on East Avenue on Wednesday, according to mainegasprices.com.

The price was among the lowest in the Twin Cities.

“I love it, love it, love it! Who doesn’t?” Betty Lebel of Sabattus said Monday as she filled the tank of her Buick.

Last year, she spent about $60 a week on gas, Lebel said. She’s now spending $30-something. The extra money means she can go out to eat a little more often and do more shopping.

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“A little extra in the pocket is helpful,” she said.

On Tuesday, the state average for Maine was $2.475 cents per gallon, said Pat Moody of AAA in Portland. The Lewiston-Auburn average was $2.41. According to mainegasprices.com, Wednesday’s Maine average was $2.428. The national average was $2.246, with some states, including Ohio and Virginia, offering prices below $2 per gallon.

One week ago in Maine, the state average was $2.55 a gallon; a month ago, $2.92; and one year ago, $3.53, Moody said.

Nationally, drivers are saving more than $500 million a day compared to what they were paying six months ago, Moody said.

The reason for lower prices is a state of oversupply “due to a record production from the United States,” and lower-than-expected global demand.

World crude oil prices are the lowest in five years, according to the Governor’s Energy Office. Current oil production estimates indicate that supply exceeds demand by two million barrels a day, and United States inventories are at their highest levels since the early 1980s.

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The impact of consumers spending less on gas is more disposable income, which is improving the economy, higher consumer confidence and an expected increase in travel and shopping.

Jenna Nadeau of Monmouth estimated she’s spending about $40 a week on gas. “I probably spent twice that last year,” she said as she filled her Malibu. “It makes a big difference. I have a 2-year-old at home. She’s pricey.”

Anita Miles of Lewiston said lower prices are prompting her to travel a bit more, including visiting her son in Thomaston.

Dan Howaniec of Lewiston said it now costs him $25 to fill his tank instead of the $35 it cost him last year.

He buys at Berube’s because “he has the lowest price in town.”

Robert Berube, owner of Berube’s Complete Car Care, said he started offering competitive prices two years ago.

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He blasts his price on Facebook. “We update mainegasprices.com two or three times a day to let people know if there’s a price change,” he said. “That draws people in.”

The lower prices mean people have more to spend elsewhere, he said. “It’s good for the economy.”

Berube said some customers pre-pay for $20 worth of gas. Last year, that $20 used to partially fill a tank. “Now they’re coming in and getting change. They’re saying, ‘Oh my God, you owe me $3 or $4!’”

No one knows how long the low prices will hang around, but experts predict they’ll last at least several months, according to AAA.

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