Gasoline prices fell by more than a penny a gallon the past two weeks in the first nationwide drop this year, an oil industry analyst said.
The average price for all grades, including taxes, was $1.37 per gallon Friday, according to the Los Angeles-based Lundberg Survey of 10,000 gasoline stations nationwide. That's down 1.21 cents from the last survey on May 24."Prices are falling in virtually all cities nationwide," analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday.
The exceptions were some Midwestern cities, where prices rose slightly after bottoming out, Lundberg said.
Lundberg attributed the drop to lower crude oil prices and the end of a supply shortage. More price reductions are possible, she said.
Prices had been on the rise since Nov. 17, when the average price was $1.15. They began falling in some cities last month.
The steep price hikes of the previous months were attributed to a variety of factors, including a shortage caused by higher production of heating oil during winter months.
California was especially hard hit because of a state-mandated switch to cleaner-burning gasoline that caused short supplies.
Those problems have been resolved, Lundberg said. On the international front, OPEC has decided to raise crude oil production after an agreement that lets Iraq sell oil for the first time since the gulf war.
Nationwide at self-serve pumps, where more than 95 percent of all gas is sold, the average per-gallon price was $1.31 for regular unleaded, $1.40 for mid-grade and $1.48 for premium.
At full-service pumps, the average per-gallon price was $1.61 for regular unleaded, $1.70 for mid-grade and $1.77 for premium, nearly 23 cents lower than Lundberg's most recent survey.