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State Gasoline Prices Continue to Edge Lower on Ample Crude Supply

Times Staff Writer

The average pump price of gasoline in California edged lower for the third straight week, and the U.S. average also fell, the Energy Department said Monday.

Self-serve regular in the state sold for an average $2.341 a gallon in the week ended Monday, down 2.8 cents from the previous week, according to a survey of gasoline stations by the agency’s Energy Information Administration.

The price hit a record high $2.402 a gallon in the week ended Oct. 18 before turning lower amid indications that U.S. refiners had more ample stocks of crude oil to process into gasoline.

But California’s average price remained 65.6 cents a gallon higher than a year ago. The U.S. average pump price -- which fell 3.3 cents in the latest week to $2.001 a gallon -- remained 49.7 cents above year-earlier levels, the administration said.

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With supplies already tight and demand growing, prices of oil and gasoline shot higher last month after Hurricane Ivan disrupted operations in the Gulf of Mexico. But those prices have retreated in recent days as production in the gulf recovers.

Light crude oil for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 52 cents Monday to $49.09 a barrel. The price had hit an exchange-record close of $55.17 on Oct. 22 and matched that high on Oct. 26.

Oil prices also have fallen in the face of steadily rising U.S. supplies. Some analysts expect the Energy Department to report another increase in inventories when it releases weekly data Wednesday.


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