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CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Gas prices fell two cents per gallon over the past three weeks, a slower rate of decline than in recent studies, which suggests prices are bottoming out and will soon rise, analyst Trilby Lundberg said yesterday. The average price for a gallon of self-serve gas nationwide, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.54, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations. On May 16, the date of the last Lundberg Survey, gas cost about $1.56 per gallon.
Gas prices fell 2.28 cents during the two weeks from May 2 to May 16, and 6.44 cents during the two weeks from April 18 to May 2. The expected turnaround in prices that have been falling since late March is mainly the result of a move by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to tighten crude oil supplies as of June 1, Lundberg said.
"Gasoline prices are already rising in some parts of the country on a spotty basis," Lundberg said. "Considering the latest crude oil developments, it's likely gasoline prices are turning around and will soon rise."
Gas prices have dropped 22.42 cents per gallon since peaking on March 21 at an average of $1.76 per gallon. The declines have been driven by falling oil prices in the wake of the Iraq war that ended without the destruction of Iraq's oil fields, as had been feared.
Charleston, S.C., had the cheapest gas in the nation: an average of $1.29 per gallon for self-serve regular. Honolulu had the most expensive gas: a gallon of self-serve regular there was $1.95. One year ago, on June 7, 2002, a gallon of gas cost on average $1.44 per gallon with all grades and taxes factored in -- about a dime less than it costs today.
The national average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps was about $1.50 for regular, $1.60 for mid-grade and $1.70 for premium.