Every penny counts in the Garden State.

So you may be relieved to hear that a gallon of regular gasoline is 2 cents cheaper today than it was one week ago, according to AAA Northeast.

It's welcomed news following a lengthy stretch of rising pump prices. The current average price in New Jersey, $2.91, while down from $2.93 last week, is still up 14 cents from a month ago, and about 40 cents higher than in mid-March.

"The problem is this market is, let's say, fickle and subject to radical changes very quickly," said Robert Sinclair, AAA Northeast's manager of media relations. "Right now, it seems that prices are trending downward, but we don't know how long that will last."

Many factors could quickly push up prices, he said, including the impact of Chinese tariffs or a spike in demand. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers had been "sabotaged," resulting in rising oil prices.

"And very soon we'll have another variable — June 1, hurricane season starts," Sinclair said, noting a significant summer storm could impact refinery output in the South.

New Jersey pump prices are down three cents from a year ago, according to the AAA analysis. And even with two hikes in the state's gas tax over as many years, New Jersey remains the "bargain" state for gas prices in the region. The average is $2.95 in New York, $2.99 in Connecticut, and $3.02 in Pennsylvania.

In a recent AAA analysis of drivers in the Northeast, 43% said that at $3 per gallon, they'd have to make driving or lifestyle changes in order to afford gasoline.

"While prices are lower right now, enjoy them while they last," Sinclair said. "They might not, or they might get even better."

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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