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Gasoline prices drop as crude oil hits eight-week low

The U.S. average is $2.53 a gallon for regular gasoline; the California average is $2.88, the Energy Department said Monday. The U.S. average is down 39% from a year earlier, when it was $4.11.

July 14, 2009|Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Retail gasoline prices dropped an average of 8.4 cents a gallon nationwide in the last week to $2.528 a gallon for regular grade, the Energy Department said Monday.

The price drop was the third weekly decline in a row, in part because of crude oil, which hit an eight-week low Monday.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California dropped 7.2 cents to $2.88, down $1.64 from a year earlier, the government's weekly survey of filling stations found. The U.S. average was down 39% from a year earlier, when it was $4.113.

Gas on the West Coast cost $2.819, the highest average in the nation. The Gulf Coast had the lowest average, $2.385.

Crude oil for August delivery fell 20 cents to $59.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since May 19. Monday's futures price was down 59% from the record high of $147.27 a barrel July 11, 2008.

The recent drop in gas and oil prices mirrors last summer's performance, said Marie Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

"The prices got to the level where they were just being bid up by investors, but had to fall because driving demand was down and there are really no production problems in our refineries," she said. "We're in the same spot this year and we're seeing that these prices can't sustain themselves. But while prices are dropping, they never drop as fast as they rise."

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nathan.olivarezgiles@latimes.com

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