Originally published Dec. 18, 2012.

Falling gas prices are hitting numbers not seen since the beginning of the year.

How about under $3 a gallon in North Jersey?

A Delta station on Brook Avenue in Passiac Park, north of Newark, is charging just $2.97 a gallon, the lowest in the state, according to GasBuddy.com - and it's not some gimmick price.

"It's very busy," said a worker who declined to share his name. "Like Hurricane Sandy all over again."

Prices are a bit higher in South Jersey, with a low of $3.05 at a Citgo on the White Horse Pike in Chesilhurst, Camden County, according to GasBuddy.com.

The Fil N Go in Atco is charging $3.07 a gallon for regular, down from more than $3.50 a gallon about a month ago, said Mer Valenzuela, manager of the repair shop.

Nine other spots in South Jersey are charging just $3.09, according to GasBuddy, and six of them are part of what seems to be a gas-price war along the White Horse Pike: a Federal Street Sunoco in Burlington; a Citgo on the pike in Laurel Springs; a Citgo and a Lukoil on the pike in Berlin; a Citgo and Valero on Route 73 in Berlin; a Valero and a Citgo on the pike in Magnolia; and a Speed Gas on the pike in Somerdale.

The state average, of course, is much higher: $3.23 a gallon.

That's about the same as the national average, which today reached its low for the year - and is just a few cents from being at its lowest in two years.

In the Philadelphia area, the cheapest gas seems to be in Lansdale ($3.23 at Lukoil on East Main Street, $3.25 at two Gulf stations, a Sunoco and a U.S. Gas) and nearby Kulpsville ($3.25 at a Lukoil on Sumneytown Pike), according to Philly.com's Gas Price Heat Map. (Go to http://ph.ly/gas and zoom in on the map to find prices for any part of the Philadelphia area or South Jersey.)

Pennsylvania's average price for regular is $3.45 a gallon, according to AAA.

Nationally, prices have certainly had their ups and downs this year. A year ago, the national average for regular was a fraction less than the current average, about $3.23 a gallon. It rose to a peak of $3.94 on April 6, declined until reaching $3.33 a gallon in early July, then kept rising till hitting $3.88 in mid-September.

Prices typically fall along with demand after the summer driving season ends.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.