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Gas prices on way down after peaking in late April, report says

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Just in time for the summer driving season, gas prices are on the way down after creeping up for weeks and hitting a peak in late April, a report says.

Gas prices have been declining after reaching a national high of $3.658 per gallon on average on April 29, according to gas tracking website GasBuddy.com. In California, a gallon of regular gasoline on Monday fell more than 1 cent to $4.248, compared with the price a week ago.

Analysts say that many factors contributing to a sharp rise in gas prices have now been resolved. Refineries have mostly switched from making winter-blend gasoline to summer-blend fuel, and about 90% of them have finished their annual spring maintenance.

Now, motorists in some parts of the country can expect to see prices drop by 5 or 10 cents in May, according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy. In California, drivers may enjoy the highest declines between now and Memorial Day, he said.

In California, wholesale gas prices, which drive retail costs, are down 37 cents from their peak in April, Kloza said.

"For the people who actively look for cheap gas, they will probably be able to find gasoline for 15 or 20 cents lower than they have been recently paying," Kloza said. "You will see ... the Costcos, the Arcos, some of the big-box stores will drop off pretty quickly."

By the end of May, Kloza predicted, average gas prices in California will hover a few cents above $4.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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