updated 11/10/2003 7:46:40 AM ET 2003-11-10T12:46:40

Retail gas prices dropped more than 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, but a slight recovery in the crude oil market could slow or reverse recent price declines, according to a nationwide industry survey released Sunday.

THE AVERAGE PRICE Friday for a gallon of self-serve gas nationwide, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.55, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations. That was a decrease of 4.33 cents per gallon from Oct. 24, the date of the last Lundberg Survey.

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Average prices have slipped nearly 20 cents in the past two months following the end of a supply crunch caused by the summer driving season, electricity blackouts and a pipeline rupture that halted gas deliveries to Arizona.

The downward trend could change if oil prices remain around $31 per barrel or continue to rise, analyst Trilby Lundberg said. Crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 69 cents over the past two weeks, closing at $30.85 a barrel on Friday.

Oil prices are receiving support from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production cut of 900,000 barrels, which went into effect Nov. 1, and improvements in economic conditions in the United States and abroad.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.51 for regular, $1.61 for mid-grade and $1.71 for premium.

© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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