For the first time since winter, Jason Cogswell bought gasoline for less than $3 a gallon Monday.
"For me, it's a really good deal. ... I drive about 250 miles a day," said Cogswell, a contract courier, as he pumped $2.99-a-gallon regular gas into his 1998 Honda Accord at the Valero station at Lamar Boulevard and Ballpark Way in Arlington.
The north Dallas resident drives a Fort Worth-area route every day. He said he was "a little surprised" to see pump prices fall to $3.09. When he saw Valero's $2.99 posting, "I couldn't pass it up," he said.
A handful of Tarrant County service stations were selling regular for $2.99 on Monday, according to www.fortworthgasprices.com. A growing number of stations have dropped prices to between $3 and $3.10 a gallon in response to declining oil prices and reduced gasoline demand after the summer driving season.
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Oil futures, which topped $100 a barrel earlier in the year, fell below $80 Friday before settling up moderately Monday.
Pump prices are on a steady descent, with the average for regular down to $3.19 in Fort Worth-Arlington, according to a report Monday by auto club AAA, Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.
That's a 15-cent drop in just a week and a 71-cent decline from this year's peak area average of $3.90 in early May.
The average area prices for other fuel grades are: midgrade, $3.36; premium, $3.50; and diesel, $3.67.
In addition, the local average pump price for regular gas is 12 cents a gallon below the Texas average of $3.31 and 30 cents below the national average of $3.49.
Fort Worth-Arlington has the lowest gasoline price of any area in the state and is 22 cents below the highest area average, $3.41 in Amarillo.
Sarah Schimmer, a spokeswoman for AAA, said "it really isn't that unusual" to see large variations in prices around the state during periods of heavy market volatility such as now.
Texas is markedly below the national average in part because the "extremely high prices" typical in remote states such as Alaska ($3.98 average) and Hawaii ($4.24) push up the U.S. figure, Schimmer said.
In addition, several states' gasoline tax is higher than Texas' 20 cents a gallon.
Jack Z. Smith,