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Gasoline prices tumbled nearly 4 cents a gallon in the past three weeks, easing concerns of a summer shortage, according to the Lundberg Survey.
The average retail price of gasoline including all grades and taxes was about $1.73, down 3.58 cents per gallon since May 18, according to the survey of nearly 8,000 gas stations nationwide. It was the first price drop since March.
Prices dropped despite the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer season when driving -- and thus gasoline demand -- begins to peak. "There was never any gasoline 'crisis,' and I still maintain that for this summer there will be none," analyst Trilby Lundberg said. "Supplies appear sufficient to keep prices stable, or slightly lower, for the near future."
Prices soared in April, "but refineries completed seasonal maintenance work and cranked up production well in time for the first real pull on supplies by vacationing motorists," Lundberg added.
Prices fell around the country but the largest declines were in the Midwest, where they had been highest. The price of regular self-serve gas fell 15 cents per gallon in Chicago, which previously had the highest average price. Only San Francisco had an average gasoline price above $2 per gallon, at $2.02.
The average prices were $1.69 per gallon for self-serve regular, $1.79 for self-serve mid-grade and $1.88 for self-serve premium. For full-service, the prices were $2.04 for regular, $2.13 for mid-grade and $2.21 for premium.