At the pump: From high to not quite so high

The national average gasoline price plummeted 12 cents over the past week, the fastest drop since 2008, AAA reported Monday.

After 11 straight days of falling  prices, drivers now pay an average $3.67 a gallon for regular. That’s down from $3.79 a week ago and from $3.82 a month ago. But regular is still  more than 20 cents higher  than it was this time last year.

Analysts have attributed  the recent  price drop to  typical demand decline with the end of the summer vacation season paired with a rebound in supply. A series of refinery issues, including closures during Hurricane Isaac and a fire at a California facility, constrained supplies during summer months and caused gasoline prices to rise to record levels.

“We’re not seeing the same distribution problems we saw during the summer,” said AAA spokesman Michael Green. “All the Gulf Coast refineries are back online and we’re seeing supplies in the Midwest and Northeast going up, as well.”

Midwestern states have fared particularly well, with prices dropping more than 20 cents over the week in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. The price decline has been less dramatic for Houstonians, who were paying an average $3.43 as of Monday, down just 8 cents from a week earlier.

AAA expects the fuel price will continue to decline, dropping as low as $3.25 by Thanksgiving.