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    Gas Prices Down Slightly

    Prices could fall further as supplies increase.

    NEW YORK-- U.S. average retail gasoline prices fell during the past two weeks and could slip further as U.S. crude oil and gasoline supplies swell, Reuters reported.

    The national average for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $2.2129 a gallon on May 6, down 3.08 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations released on Sunday.

    In the past month, gasoline prices have fallen about 7.5 cents per gallon, after surging about 49 cents per gallon at retail from the start of 2005 through April 8.

    "The reason for this month of price cuts at the pump is that both crude oil and gas supplies are up," survey editor Trilby Lundberg said. "In the near term, I don't expect any interruption of this augmented crude oil and gasoline supply, and I'm expecting further drops at the pump near-term."

    Lundberg noted that any interruption in these supplies would put the brakes on declines in gas prices.

    Since March, the United States has gotten an influx of crude from Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, in a move aimed at heading off a supply crimp in the high-demand winter heating season.

    U.S. oil supplies are at about 327 million barrels, the highest level since energy companies were hoarding oil in fear of a global computer meltdown in 2000, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

    At $1.95 a gallon, Minneapolis had the lowest average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas, while the highest average price was $2.60 a gallon in San Francisco.

    One of the reasons for the wide range in price was the difference in taxes, Lundberg said, adding that taxes made up about 58 cents of the price in San Francisco, and just more than 40 cents of the price in Minneapolis.

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