In the first sign of relief for motorists
from the year-long surge in gasoline prices, the average pump price
dipped nearly 2 1/2 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, an
industry analyst said.
The average price for all grades of gasoline, including taxes,
was $1.5709 per gallon on Friday, down 2.49 cents, according to the
Lundberg Survey of 10,000 stations nationwide.
It was the biggest drop since the winter 1998 oil glut and was
mainly due to falling crude oil prices, as producing countries
decided to increase production, analyst Trilby Lundberg said
"Gasoline prices are beginning to respond and are likely to
fall further soon," she said. "The retreat shows no sign of
Prices generally dropped in all regions of the country, she
Last month's decision by the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries to increase production by 1.7 million barrels a
day had been expected to result in lower prices this summer. But
the result was dramatic, with crude oil prices dipping from a high
of more than $34 per barrel on March 7 to about $25 last week.
Lundberg said fierce retail competition helped promote a
"rather quick response down at the street level" to pass on the
On Thursday, a revised Energy Department forecast said gasoline
prices should peak this month and decline to an average of $1.46
per gallon for the summer. That still would have motorists paying
about 25 percent more for gasoline this summer than last year.
Prices at self-service stations on Friday averaged $1.5234 for
regular unleaded gasoline, $1.6194 for mid-grade and $1.7025 for
Full-service prices were $1.8336 for regular, $1.9197 for
mid-grade and $1.9984 for premium.