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U.S. gasoline prices fall another 7 cents

Gas prices have slipped almost 7 cents in the last two weeks in the second dip in prices this year, an industry analyst said Sunday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Though gas prices have dropped back under $2 a gallon, travelers may not get any more breaks as vacation season heats up, an industry analyst said.

Fears of terrorism and sabotage in Iraq and Saudi Arabia could offset OPEC’s decision to increase oil production in July, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey of U.S. gas stations.

The weighted national average price for all three grades of gasoline fell to $1.97 per gallon on Friday, 6.6 cents lower than two weeks earlier, after rising more than 59 cents between mid-December and June, Lundberg said.

The biggest-selling gas, self-serve regular, averaged $1.94 a gallon.

Lundberg said Sunday that the decline — which followed another drop two weeks ago — was partly due to moderating oil prices and the completion of U.S. refinery maintenance projects.

Falling crude oil prices were also a factor. At the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil futures set for August delivery ended trading at $37.55 a barrel Friday, down from $38.45 a barrel two weeks earlier.

Crude oil prices had earlier been hovering above $40 a barrel.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies more than a third of the world’s crude, announced earlier this month it would raise its daily production quota by more than 2 million barrels to 26 million barrels and, if necessary, by an additional 500,000 barrels Aug. 1.

Lundberg reported average per-gallon prices at self-serve pumps at about $2.04 for midgrade gas and $2.13 for premium, including taxes.

The nation’s most expensive gas was in San Francisco, where regular unleaded sold for $2.27 a gallon. The cheapest, at $1.69, was in Tulsa, Okla.

The Lundberg Survey regularly polls nearly 8,000 gas stations across the United States.