CHICAGO (CBS) — For the first time this year, Chicago area drivers are seeing some relief at the pump, as gas prices have started going down.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, since late December, gas prices have risen steadily, due to refinery issues; but now prices are falling in March.

According to, over the past week, the average price at the pump is down about 10 cents per gallon in the Chicago area, to just under $4 per gallon. The national average remains at $3.66.

Phil Flynn, an oil analyst at Price Futures Group, said the chief reason for the recent drop has been a reduction in the price of crude oil.

“Whenever that happens, the price of gasoline soon follows,” Flynn said.

Flynn expects the downward trend to continue, but cautioned “the refining system in this country is so delicate right now, and being able to get the oil to the places it needs to be [is] a very complex process, so if something goes wrong, prices can always go up.”

Even with the increases this year in gas prices, the average price per gallon remains about 24 cents lower than this time last year.