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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — The AAA Carolinas motor club says gas hit its lowest average price in three years in 2013 in North Carolina, and the downward trend is expected to continue this year.

The motor club says North Carolina motorists paid an average of $3.43 for a gallon of gas in 2013, down 13 cents from the 2012 average of $3.56, which was the highest ever. The 2013 average also was 4 cents lower than the 2011 average of $3.47.

Last year’s annual average in North Carolina is the lowest since 2010, when gas prices averaged $2.72.

AAA Carolinas President and CEO David Parsons says increased refinery capacity, more fuel-efficient vehicles and higher production of North American crude oil contributed to the lower prices. He expects the trend to continue into this year.

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