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Average U.S. gas prices dip slightly

The average retail price of gasoline fell last week by less than a penny to about $2.50 a gallon, the Energy Department reported Monday.
/ Source: Reuters

The average retail price of gasoline fell last week by less than a penny to about $2.50 a gallon.

The federal Energy Information Administration said Monday that U.S. motorists paid $2.498 a gallon on average for regular grade last week, a decline of 0.6 cent from the previous week. Pump prices are 34.5 cents higher than a year ago.

Two weeks ago, average U.S. gas prices had climbed by 14 cents a gallon to their highest level since October.

Average retail gasoline prices peaked at $3.07 a gallon in early September, a reflection of the extreme tightness in the market following Hurricane Katrina, which knocked out refineries in the Gulf region, as well as pipelines that deliver fuel to the East Coast and Midwest.

Gasoline prices were most expensive last week on the West Coast, averaging $2.609 per gallon, and cheapest in the Rocky Mountain region, averaging $2.395 per gallon.

One of the key factors underpinning the high price of gasoline is the cost of crude oil, which has been elevated by strong demand, tight global supplies and geopolitical uncertainties.

Crude-oil futures settled Monday at $64.16 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That is about 19 percent higher than a year ago. Gasoline futures closed at $1.8288 per gallon, or 17 percent above year-ago levels.