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Gas prices aren't likely to drop much more this summer

They may drift slightly lower, but most of the declines are over, analysts say. The average for a gallon of regular is $3.794 in California, $3.579 nationally.

July 05, 2011|By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
  • A motorist in Burbank buys gas for his boat at the start of the Fourth of July holiday.
A motorist in Burbank buys gas for his boat at the start of the Fourth of July… (Nick Ut, AP )

Motorists can expect gasoline prices to drift slightly lower over the rest of the summer, but most of the declines are over, analysts said, as the average for a gallon of regular in California reached $3.794 and stood at $3.579 nationally.

The price averages are calculated by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, which uses a telephone survey of gas stations across the U.S.

California's average price fell 4.5 cents a gallon in the last week, according to the weekly survey. Prices have dropped an average of 46.3 cents a gallon since May 2, the department said.

Nationally, the price rose an average of 0.5 cent to $3.579 a gallon, largely because of continuing problems with refineries in the Midwest, where the average price jumped by 10.1 cents over the last week to $3.595 a gallon. The national average peaked at $3.965 a gallon on May 9.

"Refiners have had trouble getting things working properly in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. He said he expected prices to bottom out this summer in a range between $3.25 and $3.75 a gallon depending on the state, with California toward the higher end of the range.

In other energy news, oil prices rose Tuesday on signs of economic strength in the U.S. and China. Crude for August delivery gained $1.95 to $96.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its highest close since June 14. U.S. oil prices are 34% higher than they were a year earlier.

Brent oil for August rose $2.22 to $113.61 a barrel in London trading.

ron.white@latimes.com

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