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    Gas Prices May Have Topped Out for 2012

    Energy Department forecasts consumption to decline to 8.65 million barrels a day, the lowest level in 11 years.

    NEW YORK -- Due to decreasing gas demand, slower-than-expected job growth and moderate crude prices, the pain at the pump may have peaked for the year.

    Citing data from AAA, Bloomberg reported that regular gasoline has fallen five straight days to $3.915 per gallon -- the longest down streak since December. The slide comes after gas prices surged 20 percent and peaked at $3.936 on April 6. As a result of ever-increasing prices, motorists bought 5.3 percent less gas so far this year vs. 2011.

    In addition, deliveries to wholesalers dipped 5.4 percent from a year earlier. The Energy Department forecasts consumption will decline to 8.65 million barrels a day this year -- the lowest level in 11 years, the news outlet stated.

    "Gasoline was the best-performing asset in the first quarter, but the sentiment is turning," Amrita Sen, a London- based analyst at Barclays Capital, told Bloomberg. "For the time being, our view is that it has probably peaked."

    The Energy Department in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, however, said U.S. gasoline will peak in May at $4.01 a gallon.

    On the other end of the fuel scale, T. Boone Pickens told CNBC's Street Signs that natural gas prices, which earlier Wednesday broke below $2, are as low as they'll get.

    "I have to think you're close to a bottom," said the oil and gas driller and head of BP Capital Management.

    Pickens, who has pushed for federal legislation that would put natural gas into commercial vehicles, added that he was encouraged after hearing Energy Secretary Steven Chu speak at a conference Wednesday about putting natural gas in heavy-duty trucks.


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