Gas prices drop across the U.S.

/ Source: The Associated Press

Gas prices have dropped nearly 5 cents in the past three weeks with an increase in supply, but soaring crude oil prices could cause rates to rise again soon, an industry analyst said Sunday.

The weighted national average for all three grades of gasoline fell about 4.9 cents between July 23 and Friday to $1.90 per gallon, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey.

That represents a drop of 20 cents per gallon since May 21, when the average price peaked at slightly more than $2.10 a gallon.

The survey, which polls nearly 8,000 gas stations across the United States, is usually published twice a month but the current report represents a three-week period.

The biggest seller in the three-week period was self-serve regular, which averaged $1.87 per gallon. Mid-grade gasoline averaged $1.97 per gallon and premium was about $2.07 per gallon.

Lundberg said the break in prices likely won’t last. She said crude oil has increased in cost by nearly $5 a barrel in the past three weeks. She said gas prices nevertheless dropped because of a temporary relief in supply, which was tight during peak summer travel months.

“The drops in retail gas prices can’t last,” she said. “Already we see many wholesale gas prices have turned around and are on the rise — and this will hit at the pumps quickly.”

The lowest average price for a gallon of self-serve regular was $1.72, in Tulsa, Okla. The highest average price for self-serve regular was in Honolulu, where consumers are paying $2.26 per gallon.