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DECLINE IN PRICE OF GASOLINE IS 1ST SINCE MARCH

The American Automobile Association reported the monthly price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline fell in September for the first time in six months.

AAA's Fuel Gauge Report shows the nationwide average price of self-serve regular unleaded declined 1 cent since August to $1.188 per gallon, the first drop since March when the average dipped 0.4 cent to $1.065.The monthly average had climbed more than 13 cents in the five months prior to the September price drop.

The national average price for all other grades also declined in price. Mid-grade self-serve unleaded was down 0.9 cent to $1.281 per gallon while self-serve premium unleaded fell 1 cent to $1.361.

For full-serve, regular unleaded was down 0.7 cent to $1.428 per gallon, mid-grade fell 0.3 cent to $1.525 and premium declined 0.5 cent to $1.582.

The highest regional average price of regular self-serve unleaded gas was in the West at $1.304 per gallon, up 1.6 cents from last month, and lowest in the Southeast at $1.112, down 1.5 cents.

Other average regional prices are: Great Lakes, $1.178 per gallon, down 3.5 cents; Midwest, $1.193, down 1.8 cents; Southwest, $1.183, down 1 cent; New England, $1.185, down 0.5 cent; and Mid-Atlantic, $1.158, down 0.4 cent.

Nationally, 35 percent of the service stations surveyed will operate 24 hours, AAA said.

The AAA Fuel Gauge survey was conducted by Computer Petroleum Corp. of St. Paul, Minn., which publishes the National Petroleum Price Index that monitors more than 90,000 daily wholesale and retail prices in the United States and Canada.