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Gasoline prices continue to slide

Pump prices fell for the sixth straight week in California and for the fifth straight week across the U.S., the Energy Department said Monday. The decline was led by the Midwest, which dropped more than 13 cents a gallon after two key refineries were returned to service.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California fell 5.4 cents from the previous week to $3.940, according to the Energy Department’s weekly survey of service stations. The state’s average price has fallen 26.7 cents a gallon since it peaked at $4.257 on May 2.

At this time last year, the average cost of a gallon of gasoline in California was $3.053.

Nationally, the average gas price fell 6.8 cents to $3.713 a gallon, down 25.2 cents from the year’s peak of $3.965. That was still $1.012 higher than the year-earlier price.

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In world oil markets, the American and European benchmarks moved in different directions Monday.

U.S. July crude fell $1.99 to close at $97.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange amid concerns about slower economic growth. But Brent crude rose 38 cents to close at $119.10 a barrel in London after hitting a five-week high of $120.25 during the trading day. The major influences were fear about Greek financial debt and Nigerian crude supplies.

Although California imports a substantial amount of its oil, analysts said that if Brent prices continue to rise, gasoline prices on the East Coast would be more likely to be adversely affected than those in California.

“Gasoline prices in California should continue to go down,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at PFGBest Research in Chicago.

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ron.white@latimes.com


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