Gasoline prices slip in most of the U.S.

Motorists are paying a little less for gasoline in most parts of the country despite the recent increase in oil prices.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California fell 1.6 cents to $3.031 while the national average declined by 0.9 of a cent to $2.628 a gallon, according to the Energy Department's weekly survey of filling stations, released Monday.

Prices rose only in the Rocky Mountain states, where the average increased half a penny to $2.616 a gallon.

Some analysts were sticking to predictions of a slide in prices by sometime in September to $2.75 to $3 a gallon in California and an average of $2.50 to $2.75 a gallon nationally.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J., also said there might be another drop in demand in mid-October if there are few signs of a building economic recovery.

"That will provide an interesting gauge of consumer sentiment," Kloza said.

Oil traders on Monday eked out an increase -- the fifth in a row -- in spite of the stagnant economy.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose 48 cents, or 0.6%, to $74.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil last traded above $75 a barrel in October.

"It's still being driven by fast money and the Wall Street crowd, but I think we are nearing a peak," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst for the Chicago futures brokerage firm PFG Best.


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