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Gasoline prices stay stable as Labor Day approaches

California's average has topped $3 a gallon for the last month but has varied by less than a penny.

September 01, 2009|Ronald D. White

With the summer driving season nearing its traditional Labor Day finish, pump prices in California and across the U.S. have remained mostly stable, the Energy Department said Monday.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California rose just 0.6 cent to $3.037 in the last week, according to the Energy Department's weekly survey of gas stations. That's 86.8 cents lower than a year earlier.

In the last month, the state's average has remained above $3 a gallon but has varied by less than a penny. So far this year it has spent just five weeks above the $3 threshold, compared with 43 weeks during the same period in 2008, which included 13 weeks at more than $4 a gallon.

Prices in Los Angeles ranged from $2.79 to $3.45, according to GasBuddy.com, a system of websites on which volunteers in the U.S. and Canada report the prices they see.

The national average fell 1.5 cents to $2.613 a gallon, $1.067 lower than a year earlier, according to the Energy Department survey.

In New York futures trading, oil took a tumble below $70 a barrel Monday for the first time since Aug. 18. Crude oil for October delivery fell $2.78, or 3.8%, to settle at $69.96 a barrel.

Analysts attributed the decline to a sell-off in China's stock market, which raised concerns about the strength of the global economic recovery. Still, despite the biggest decline in two weeks, oil remained within its recent range of the upper $60s to mid-$70s.

--

ron.white@latimes.com

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