Gas prices staying down as 2013 starts

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Gas prices down

(AP Photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. drivers are hoping 2013 doesn’t start off like 2012 at the gas pump. So far, so good.

Gasoline now averages $3.30 a gallon, up about half a penny since Jan. 1. A year ago, gas rose about 10 cents in the first week or so because of a jump in oil prices. Gas nearly hit $4 in early April.

Oil prices should dictate what happens next with pump prices. The economic drivers for oil are mixed — economies in the U.S. and China are showing modest improvement, while Europe remains in recession.

The wild card is the Middle East. In the past two years, threats to shipments of oil from the region drove crude prices higher during the winter. That led to a surge in pump prices by spring.

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