MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Less expensive crude oil from Canada and North Dakota is easing the pain at the pump for residents of Minnesota and other Midwestern states.

The price gap for regular unleaded between Minnesota and California is 75 cents, the biggest between the two states since 2009. AAA says the average price in Minnesota this week is about $3.60 a gallon.   Here in St. Cloud were averaging about $3.67 a gallon.  California prices have been above $4 a gallon for weeks.

Jake Reint of the Flint Hills Resources refinery says Minnesota is "geographically blessed" to have access to reliable and abundant supplies of crude oil. Flint Hills in Rosemount and Minnesota's other refinery, Northern Tier Energy in St. Paul Park, get most of their oil by pipeline from Canada and the Bakken region in North Dakota.

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