EAGLE ROCK (CBSLA.com) — While gas prices have fallen in the past month, drivers have notice an enormous spread in prices from one station to the next, with differences of over a dollar per gallon between stations.

When it comes to gas prices, experts say that what goes up quickly tends to come down slowly.

After reaching the $5 mark just weeks ago due to local refinery issues, prices are now dropping in Southern California, thanks to oversea imports.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in the Los Angeles area is now $3.81.

“We are about 40 cents per gallon cheaper than where we were last year in LA,” Gasbuddy.com petroleum analyst Allison Mac said.

Mac, along with other experts, say that even though you’re paying less these days, you’re likely to be charged more when prices are falling than when prices skyrocket.

“They were buying gas at the wholesale level, so they were trading at very high prices and a lot of gas stations, especially in LA, they have to buy gas every day,” Mac explains. “So in order to make up for the profit, the money that was lost, even when wholesale prices go down, retail prices cannot decrease at the same rate because they already lost money when prices were shooting up that dramatically.”

Drivers in LA can see the big spread of prices throughout the area. CBS2 found one gas station in Eagle Rock selling regular unleaded for $3.39, while another station in Studio City was selling the same gas for $4.55.

“Retailers are a little more cautious, especially when they’re trying to decrease the prices because we never know how volatile the prices are going to be,” Mac said.

Mac says the good news is that gas prices will continue to drop until the end of the year, and she says vigilance may save around $10 every time you fill up.

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