U.S. drivers found more savings at the pump as gasoline prices fell for the fifth straight week in California and the rest of the nation, with more to come, the government said Monday.
The U.S. average price of self-serve regular gasoline dropped 10.4 cents over the last week to $2.376 a gallon, based on the Energy Information Administration's weekly survey of service stations.
The pump price has fallen 69 cents since its record high average of $3.069 a gallon in early September after Hurricane Katrina disrupted gasoline production at Gulf Coast refineries. Still, the U.S. average was 37.5 cents higher than a year ago.
In California, the per-gallon average fell 8.8 cents to $2.659, the agency's survey found. The California price was down 39.7 cents from its Labor Day peak of $3.056 a gallon but up 31.8 cents from a year ago.
Current fuel prices are well below the agency's forecast fourth-quarter U.S. average of $2.68 a gallon and its upcoming first-quarter average of $2.43.
Doug MacIntyre, a senior analyst at the agency, said more gasoline imports and stronger domestic gasoline production than previously expected had pushed fuel prices lower. But he said the agency didn't expect the average national pump price to fall below $2 a gallon anytime soon.
"There may be certain parts of the country that see that [$2], but for the U.S. average I don't think we have anything nearly that low," MacIntyre said.