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If you're gearing up for a long drive during this Independence Day holiday week, there's some good news at the gas pump: Fuel prices have tumbled over the past month.

While the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas nationwide is $3.48 today, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, some parts of the country -- including the Midwest -- are seeing sub-$3 prices. The national average a month ago was $3.62. Despite the recent drop, prices are still higher on average than they were a year ago at this time, when they sat at $3.33 a gallon.

In Tulsa, Okla., a gallon of unleaded is averaging $3.02 a gallon, according to, meaning folks around there shouldn't have too hard of a time finding cheaper fuel prices. GasBuddy noted the Midwest has seen a particularly sharp up and down, with prices around $4 a gallon at the beginning of June and a precipitous fall of around $1 a gallon to this week's prices. South Carolina is currently enjoying the lowest average gas prices in the country at $3.14 a gallon, GasBuddy reports.

"Gas prices across the country are finally moving lower in lockstep, leading up to the Fourth of July, which is welcome news for the 34.4 million travelers that AAA expects to travel by automobile this holiday period," AAA said. "The national average may continue to drift lower in the coming days, especially as prices in the Midwest and Great Lakes retreat from near-historic highs, however crude oil prices remain substantially higher than last year and are likely to limit the amount further that the national price will fall."

One reason for the recent drop in the prices is a huge BP refinery expansion coming online in Indiana, according to GasBuddy. The expanded facility is the largest BP refinery in the nation. The refinery can produce 413,000 barrels of fuel per day.

While a AAA survey ahead of the vacation week indicated a slight drop in travelers -- and that fuel prices were not a factor -- some might find the recent plunge in gas prices to be an invitation to fill up the car and take a ride. The AAA survey indicated that a lot of drivers find $3 a gallon to be the point at which they find fuel to be too expensive.

It could be a long wait to reach that point in several states that still have average gas prices near or above $4 a gallon -- mainly in the West.

Here are the most expensive states to buy gas, according to AAA:

  • Hawaii ($4.32)
  • Alaska ($4.04)
  • California ($3.99)
  • Washington ($3.79)
  • Idaho ($3.77)

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