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Retail Gasoline Prices Drop

Energy: The national average for fuel dips more than 2 cents to $1.40 per gallon in the last three weeks despite increasing demand with summer travel.

June 10, 2002|From Reuters

U.S. average retail gasoline prices fell over the last three weeks, as supplies were plentiful despite rising demand with summer travelers taking to the road, according to a nationwide survey released Sunday.

The national average for self-serve regular gas dropped more than 2 cents to $1.4034 a gallon in the three weeks ended June 7, about 29 cents below the level last year, according to the Lundberg survey of 8,000 gas stations.

Prices at the pump rose rapidly in the early spring as tensions in the Middle East raised crude oil prices. They have since leveled off as heavy imports from Europe help to build up a big surplus compared with last year.

"The biggest factor in the price change over the past three weeks is lower crude oil prices," Trilby Lundberg, editor of the survey, said.

"There is also no shortage of gasoline to meet demand--there's more than enough supply. If we had a shortage, the price would rise even if crude oil prices were falling."

Gasoline prices have spiked in the last two summers because of increased consumption by vacationing motorists as well as more stringent clean-air fuel requirements imposed during the summer at a third of the nation's pumps to combat smog.

Lundberg noted that industrial and agricultural trucking also rises during the summer, boosting demand for gasoline.

She said she does not believe prices will jump soon.

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