S. LA seeing cheaper gas prices than N. LA

LAKE CHARLES (AP) - Louisiana motorists are seeing big variations in gasoline prices around the state, with fuel cheaper in Lake Charles and more expensive in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

The American Automobile Association said the variation is caused by lingering market disruptions due to Hurricane Ike last month. Per-gallon fuel prices normally vary by one or two pennies from one city to the next, but now the difference is up to 15 cents per gallon.

Of the five cities monitored by AAA on Thursday, Lake Charles had the cheapest regular-grade gas, averaging $3.35 per gallon. Baton Rouge had the most expensive, at $3.49 per gallon.

Price variations within cities can mean motorists can benefit by filling up in the right town, at the right station. One filling station in Lake Charles was selling regular for $2.99 per gallon on Thursday; some in Baton Rouge were at $3.60.

"That's why we certainly encourage our members to shop around for the best prices," AAA Louisiana spokesman Don Redman said.

The statewide average is $3.48, compared to $2.69 at this time last year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)