Houston gas prices drop for third straight week

For the third straight week, gasoline prices have dropped in Houston.

Prices dipped 6 cents over the past week to $3.80 in Houston, according to the AAA gas gauge. Texans are paying on average of $3.74, also 6-cent drop. The national average fell 6 cents to $3.83.

Houston gas prices are just a penny higher than last year’s average price of $3.79, according to AAA gas gauge.

Analysts say gasoline prices appear to have peaked nationally as large metro areas, including Chicago and Los Angeles, have seen significant drops during the past few weeks.

Those signs likely mean lower prices for drivers in the coming months.

“Average gasoline prices nationally continue to slowly drop,” said Patrick DeHaan, a gasoline analyst for GasBuddy.com. “Perhaps looking at the big picture with prices having failed to reach new records so far in 2012, we can restore some gas-sanity in this country. Prices go up and down every year, every season, regardless of whose name is on the ballot.”

DeHaan said refineries are slowly coming out of maintenance and boosting production, resulting in gasoline prices to peak sooner than many analysts had believed earlier this year.

Gasoline analyst Bob van der Valk said prices should taper off in the fall months. Van der Valk said without major hurricane damage or a new military conflict, gasoline prices could slip under $3 later this year.