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Gas Prices Drop 2 Cents Nationwide

Gas Prices Drop 2 Cents Nationwide


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CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) -- Gasoline prices nationwide dropped more than 2 cents over the past two weeks, but the steady decline since March could be slowing or coming to an end, an industry analyst said.

In her biweekly survey released Sunday, Trilby Lundberg attributed the decrease, to $1.56 a gallon, to increasing confidence about Middle East oil supplies in the wake of the U.S.-led victory in the Iraq war. It is the fourth consecutive decline since gas prices peaked at $1.76 on March 21, a few days after the war started.

Lundberg warned, however, that crude oil prices have inched upward because of low exports from Iraq and a recent decision by OPEC to reduce its output by 2 million barrels a day beginning next month.

That rise could mean the downward trend in gas prices would slow or cease just as the summer driving season is getting under way, Lundberg said.

Lundberg also cautioned that further increases in crude might be possible because traders have been "understandably nervous" since the May 12 bombings in Saudi Arabia.

The average price for gas nationwide, including all grades and taxes, fell 2.28 cents to nearly $1.56 per gallon Friday, according to the survey by Lundberg of 8,000 stations.

A year ago, on May 17, 2002, the weighted average for all three grades combined was $1.46 per gallon.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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