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Gas prices on average are down from a year ago by 18 cents but are up three cents from one week ago, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch.

The recent overall decrease can be attributed to refineries reopening after shutting down for their annual scheduled maintenance, said Doug Shupe, a spokesman for AAA. The slight increase can be attributed to spring break and the increase of fuel demand as people travel for the break.

The Texas average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is $3.57, which is 12 cents less than the national average of $3.69, according to the report. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, drivers in Beaumont are paying the least at $3.44, with Fort Worth drivers forking over the most at $3.68.

The increase in gas prices at the end of February and beginning of March were due to the refineries maintenance, which happened earlier this year than in previous, Shupe said. Now that the refineries have reopened, the prices should stabilize again, he said.

Across the country, every state except for North Dakota is paying less for gas compared to this time last year, Shupe said based on the report.

This peak gas prices may not have hit yet though, he said.

We saw the gas prices peak in the April or May time frame last year, Shupe said. So we have a little time to go with the start of the summer driving season. We ll have to take a week to week look at this.

With the gas prices still fluctuating, it's important to maximize a vehicle's fuel efficiency by keeping the vehicle maintained to the manufactures standards, Shupe said.

If drivers maintain the speed limit and do not drive aggressively by speeding up and slowing down, they can also increase their car s fuel efficiency.

Changing your behavior when you re behind the wheel is not only safer but better for your pocketbook, Shupe said.

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