Americans continue to see relief at the pump in the weeks ahead of the Christmas holiday. The national average declined another five cents per gallon in the last seven days, falling to an average $3.34/gal. The decline has also narrowed the gap between what Americans paid in the run up to Christmas 2011, with prices today just a nickle higher than a year ago.

Four U.S. states already have gasoline prices under their December 25, 2011 average: Alaska, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Oregon. Alaska is an astonishing 47c/gal lower than just a year ago on this date, while the other areas are just pennies lower.

While those four states will likely not be seeing their highest ever Christmas Day prices, several states appear ripe for records- highest ever Christmas Day prices: New York, New Jersey, Idaho, Utah, and Vermont, where prices are currently running an average of 29c/gal higher than last Christmas. With Christmas just about two weeks away, it is likely these states break records.

Around the rest of the country, other states that may come close to setting records: Wyoming, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and Delaware. Why so many states in the East, you ask? Likely due to their low levels of gasoline available in inventories. Things have been tight there, a year after refineries closed and were offered for sale. The situation may slowly return to normal over the next year, but don't expect an overnight improvement.

"The national average has continued to see a steady decline over the last week, and that trend will likely continue through this week at the very least," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Last week, the Energy Information Administration reported one of the largest single week increases in gasoline inventories in my recent memory, which will likely contribute downward pressure to wholesale gasoline prices in the days and perhaps weeks ahead," DeHaan said.