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California gasoline prices still falling; national average rises

July 09, 2012|By Ronald D. White
  • The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California has fallen for eight street weeks.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California has fallen… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)

Average retail gasoline prices continue to fall in California, but the national average for a gallon of regular fuel rose for the first time in several weeks, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

The average price of a gallon of regular gas in California is $3.708, the AAA said, down 4.1 cents since last Monday. That's a decline of 43.4 cents a gallon over the past month. Here's why it might not feel like much relief: the current average is just 6.3 cents a gallon lower than it was at this time last year.

California gasoline prices have fallen for eight straight weeks, but the pace of the decline has slowed. Analysts said that California fuel prices were still catching up to a $30 plunge in U.S. oil prices, which briefly fell below $80 a barrel before recovering slightly in the past week. The drop was attributed to signs of a slowdown in the global economic recovery.

"California still has some catching up to do in fuel price declines," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. He added that the California average could fall as low as $3.50 a gallon. OPIS and Wright Express provide the numbers for the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.382 a gallon, up 5.6 cents since last week, the AAA said. The rise broke a string of 13 straight weeks of declines across much of the U.S. Analysts said the prices around the nation may have already bottomed out forĀ  awhile.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for the price-watch websites run by GasBuddy.com, said, "While I don't necessarily believe that the recent uptick in crude prices will stick, I also don't see prices falling considerably lower until after the conclusion of the summer driving season."

U.S. oil prices are up 95 cents to $85.40 a barrel in trading so far on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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