Gasoline prices continued their slow decline in California and most of the rest of the country, the government said Monday.
California motorists Monday paid an average of $2.236 for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline, down 2.7 cents from last week, the federal Energy Information Administration said. The U.S. average fell 0.3 cent to $1.945 a gallon, based on the agency’s weekly survey of more than 800 service stations.
The California price, which hit a record high of $2.402 a gallon Oct. 18, is 50.1 cents higher than a year ago.
The U.S. average peaked at $2.064 a gallon in late May and remains 45.5 cents above the year-ago level.
The Gulf Coast region had the cheapest gasoline, dropping 0.3 cent to $1.841 a gallon. Prices fell everywhere but in the Midwest, where the average rose 1.3 cents to $1.884 a gallon.
The most expensive cities surveyed were San Francisco at $2.296 a gallon, down 2.4 cents, and Los Angeles at $2.244 a gallon, down 4 cents. Houston’s average was the lowest at $1.802 per gallon, down 1.1 cents.
One of the key factors behind the high price of gasoline is the soaring cost of crude oil. Pump prices declined in the last month as improving oil inventories brought crude prices down from record highs in late October.
U.S. crude oil futures rose Monday as a gas leak shut production at a Norwegian North Sea oil platform. Crude oil for January delivery rose 32 cents to $49.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In other Nymex trading, November unleaded gasoline climbed less than a penny to $1.3029 per gallon.