06/22/2012 02:52 pm ET

Gas Prices May Drop Under $3 By Fall

Have drivers seen the worst? Analysts say the latest oil prices indicate that gas prices may settle below $3 by the fall.

With gas prices down 6 percent in the last month alone and down $0.49 since prices hit their peak in April, oil speculators like Tom Kloza expect to see the trend continue. "The market is suggesting gas below $3 by Halloween and certainly by Thanksgiving," he told USA Today.

Lower prices at the pump come just in time for summer's peak driving season. AAA projects 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more over the Fourth of July weekend -- nearly a 5 percent increase in travel from last year -- with 35 million choosing to travel by car.

According to AAA's daily fuel gauge report, the current national average gas price is $3.45 per gallon, and crude oil prices have fallen to $78 a barrel, the lowest since late winter, according to market reports from West Texas Intermediate.

While the earlier fears of $5 per gallon pricing have been called "apocalyptic," many consumers are still feeling pain at the pump. Patrons of stations in the South may have been seeing magic numbers like $2.99, but motorists on the west coast are seeing gas price averages hovering above $4.