By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Gasoline prices nationally are expected to be at their highest mark since 2008, but at least in Chicago prices are dropping.

However, a price drip here is a relative term, as the area has historically had some of the more expensive gasoline in the United States.

Currently, the average price for regular gasoline in Chicago is $4.04, down from $4.11 last week, according to Gas Buddy.

However, that is still above last year’s average of $3.98.

The record average in Chicago was set in 2012 at $4.57–breaking the previous highs set in 2011 and 2008. A combination of demand for more expensive summer blend and much higher than average gasoline taxes accounted for the high price.

During the past three years, with the exception of a few dips, Chicago gasoline prices have been around $4 a gallon for a majority of that time.

(Credit: Gas Buddy)

(Credit: Gas Buddy)

If you are hitting the road for the long weekend, prices will be higher than usual along the way, according to Gas Buddy.

Nationally, prices will average about $3.68 a gallon for regular grade gas, up 17 cents from last year but well below the all-time $4.11 record set just after July 4, 2008.

The political unrest in Iraq has seen crude oil prices rising, causing an unseasonably early summer run-up on retail gas prices.

Gas Buddy offers a few tips to help drivers get more from a gallon of gasoline:

1) Avoid sudden, hard accelerations and braking. That will cut fuel consumption by 20 percent.

2) Keep tires properly inflated. If all four of your tires are each two PSI below normal, that would increase your fuel use by 4 percent.

3) Don’t speed! Driving 62 mph vs 75 mph will reduce fuel consumption by about 15 percent.

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