---- — Regional and national gasoline prices took a big step downward last week.
The decreases marked the second straight week in which pump prices declined in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and for the country as a whole, according to tracking by the auto club AAA.
At this time last year, the price of regular gas across the two states was moving close to $4 per gallon, auto club figures show. But after last week’s declines, current averages are about 40 cents below the $4 level.
The Massachusetts average fell to $3.640 on Wednesday, down 4.5 cents from the prior Wednesday’s $3.685, AAA reported. On the same day of 2012, the Bay State average of $3.931 was 29.1 cents higher than Wednesday level.
The New Hampshire average dropped 3.5 pennies in the seven-day span, reaching $3.595 on Wednesday from $3.630 a week earlier, the auto club found. On the same day last year, New Hampshire’s average of $3.907 was 31.2 cents higher than Wednesday’s level.
Nationally, Wednesday’s 50-state average of $3.506 represented a 5.2-cent drop from the $3.558 reported by AAA seven days earlier. On the same day of 2012, the U.S. figure of $3.859 was 35.3 cents higher than Wednesday’s average.