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    Gas Prices Down

    Drop precipitated by refiners over-producing to avoid a summer shortage.

    Gas prices fell 1.18 cents nationwide over the past two weeks to an average of $1.45 per gallon, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 convenience stores nationwide.

    Prices have fallen continually since peaking in mid-May, but the decreases are slowing as gasoline reserves are absorbed by refiners, who are shutting down equipment for scheduled maintenance, said analyst Trilby Lundberg.

    The increase was sparked by refiners reacting to tight supplies during the spring by over-producing to avoid summer shortages. "There is still plenty of gasoline to go around," Lundberg said.

    Price drops were most dramatic in the Midwest, but are now on the rise in some areas there, Lundberg said. The average price at the pump fell 12 cents in Los Angeles to $1.57 over the past two weeks, while in Chicago the average price increased 13 cents to $1.58.

    Prices continue to be significantly lower than last summer. On Aug. 11, 2000, the average price for a gallon of gas was $1.53.

    The national average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps was about $1.41 a gallon for regular unleaded, $1.51 for midgrade and $1.60 for premium. At full-serve pumps, the average was about $1.85 for regular unleaded, $1.94 for midgrade and $2.02 for premium.

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