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Gasoline Prices Bottoming Out, Lundberg Says

From Associated Press

The steady decline of retail gasoline prices since December is bottoming out and a moderate rise is likely over the summer, industry analyst Dan Lundberg said Sunday.

The retail price decline continued last week, but Lundberg’s biweekly survey of 15,000 service stations showed that the overall price of gasoline was 89.96 cents a gallon, a drop of 0.11 cent since April 11.

Wholesale prices to dealers increased by 1.38 cents a gallon during the same period.

The average pump price for each grade was 76.82 cents a gallon for leaded regular, 82.72 cents for unleaded regular and 97.87 cents for premium unleaded. Prices include all taxes and are from self-serve pumps.

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The retail price plunge began in December when the overall price was $1.2145 a gallon. Since then, the price has dropped 31.5 cents.

Chairman Sees Rebound

“The fall of prices, I think, has bottomed out, and we’re now entering a swoon which will very shortly begin to rise,” Lundberg said.

Chevron Corp. Chairman George M. Keller agreed Sunday that oil prices will begin to rebound this summer.

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Keller, who appeared on the ABC News program “This Week with David Brinkley,” said he expected members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to reach agreement on oil prices in a few months.

If that happens, he said, there would be a 75% chance that oil would increase from the current $12 to $14 a barrel to $15 per barrel by the end of the year, and a 50% chance it would rise to the $18 to $20 range.

Oil must be $18 a barrel or more for the domestic oil industry to remain viable, Keller said.

Lundberg said import fees and an increase in federal excise taxes are likely to offset continued low prices, adding that increased summer driving will not cause prices to rapidly increase.

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