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Motorists heading home after the long Thanksgiving holiday this year paid about 15 cents per gallon more for gasoline than a year ago, although gas prices in Chattanooga remain 37 cents per gallon below the U.S. average, according to the daily survey of U.S. gas stations released today by GasBuddy.com.

In Chattanooga, gas prices Sunday averaged $2.21 per gallon for regular fuel, which was down 0.3 cents per gallon from a week earlier and 0.4 cents less than a month ago. Nationwide, the average price of gasoline fell 1.6 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $2.58 per gallon, GasBuddy.com surveys show.

As December begins, GasBuddy.com analysts expect fuel prices could fall farther in coming weeks.

"Aside from a possible trade deal that has been elusive for nearly 16 months, gas prices typically trend lower during the month as refiners continue to increase throughput after maintenance season and as overall weather curbs gasoline demand, easing prices," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "While prices are now notably higher than a year ago, I'd place much of the 'blame' on a strong U.S. economy and continued optimism that some sort of U.S. and China trade tie-up will be wrapped up."

The cheapest station in Chattanooga today is priced at $2.10 per gallon for regular gas, while the most expensive is $2.49 per gallon for regular fuel.

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