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      SC gas prices continue downward trend

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- Average retail gas prices across the state of South Carolina dipped another 1.2 cents over the last week.{}

      According to GasBuddy, the gas price tracking website, the average price per gallon in the state is $3.06. Nationally, the price averages $3.27 per gallon.{}

      Nationwide, gas prices dipped an average of 2.2 cents over the week.

      "The national average has picked up somedownward momentum over the last week," said GasBuddy.com Senior PetroleumAnalyst Patrick DeHaan.{}

      Including the change in gas prices in the Palmetto State during the past week, prices Sunday were 9.8 cents lower than one year ago, and are 2.2 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

      Thenational average has increased 4.7 cents over the course of the last month andstands 1 cent per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

      "It's likely that during this week, we will seegasoline prices again drop below their year ago levels yet again. However, aswe're approaching February, the most recent drops will likely reverse asrefineries begin their maintenance season, which will see refineries doing criticalwork preparing for summer at the expense of gasoline output, which will be acontributing factor to an upward rise in gas prices. Motorists should expectmore volatility in late-February through May as the market generally reacts toany unexpected production related issues, and there are generally severalissues each year," DeHaan said.

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