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Gasoline prices still falling but remain far ahead of 2010 levels

August 17, 2011 |  1:26 pm

63996498 Gasoline price drops were accelerating Wednesday during the last days of the summer driving season, which is usually a time when they are on the rise.

The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. fell to $3.584, down an additional 5.3 cents since last week.

In California, the average fell an additional 5.4 cents to $3.72 a gallon. Analysts said that refinery output in the state was running high and that there had been no equipment problems in the state.

"Gasoline supplies continue to grow in California even as it drops in other parts of the country. That is resulting in a seldom-seen situation in which some parts of California are very close to the national average. That is almost unheard of," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

DeHaan said that prices should continue to drop well into the fall, during the period when demand for gasoline usually falls following the end of the summer driving season, especially if oil prices fail to rebound to levels seen earlier in the year.

"When oil prices were last around $85 a barrel, retail gasoline prices were much lower, so they should continue to fall," DeHaan said.

A year ago, regular gasoline was averaging just $2.742 a gallon nationally. In California, the average last year was $3.169 a gallon.

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-- Ronald D. White

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