Gas prices down before Independence Day travel weekend

The local average for a gallon of regular is down to $3.61 from $3.85 a month ago. That is down from an early May high of $4.21, but still more than a dollar above the average price this time last year.

Gas prices continued more than a month of declines in advance of the Independence Day holiday weekend. In D.C. they had already slipped to $3.66 last week.

In Woodbridge, the gas stations closest to the highway are more expensive, but those a little further away are cheaper.

"Low prices make a lot of difference when you are filling up because I hit $100 a lot of times, here I think was $84," said Richard Metz.

A less costly full tank of gas after the price dropped this morning at the Shell gas station on Occoquan road to $3.45 from $3.49 a gallon as drivers are preparing to hit the road for the Fourth of July.

"I feel more comfortable about driving now whereas before when the gas prices were higher I was very careful. I planned everything,” said Bubba Hanna.

At the Wawa on Minnieville Road, gas was down to $3.47 a gallon.

AAA reports 784,000 D.C. Metro area drivers plan to travel by car this Fourth of July, three percent fewer than the same time last year. Sean Henderson said he thought twice before planning to head from Woodbridge to Pennsylvania this weekend.

The Obama administration said a week ago it is selling off 30 million barrels of il from the country’s emergency reserves as part of a boarder international response to lost oil supplies caused by turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly Libya.

The release would be the largest ever and amount to half of an international infusion of 60 million barrels of oil planned for the world market over the next month.

Upon this news, oil prices plunged 5 percent to their lowest level since mid-February.

AAA expects gas prices will average between $3.50 and $3.60 a gallon through the Independence Day weekend and continue to decline in the coming weeks, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s government affairs manager John B. Townsend stated.

With material from the Associated Press