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WASHINGTON -- The government said on Monday that U.S. consumers paid slightly less for gasoline at the pump as the average national price fell a scant 0.3 cents, dropping for the fourth straight week, reported Reuters.
Retail gasoline prices, which set a record high of $2.064 a gallon in late May, remain 45.5 cents higher than one year ago, according to a weekly survey of more than 800 service stations by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gasoline prices have surged this year on concern about tight petroleum supplies. Still, when adjusted for inflation, gasoline was more costly at nearly $3 per gallon in 1981.
U.S. crude oil futures rose on Monday as a gas leak shut down production at a 130,000 barrels-per-day Norwegian North Sea oil platform. Crude accounts for 53 percent of the cost of gasoline, according to the EIA. NYMEX crude for January delivery settled up 32 cents at $49.76 per barrel.
The government's weekly retail gasoline report showed the average U.S. pump price was highest on the West Coast, where prices fell 2.6 cents to an average of $2.157 per gallon.
The U.S. Gulf Coast region had the cheapest gasoline, dropping 0.3 cents to $1.841 per gallon during the last week, the EIA reported.
Among the 10 major urban areas highlighted by the EIA, Houston pump prices were the cheapest at $1.802 per gallon, down 1.1 cents. The most expensive cities surveyed were San Francisco, where prices fell 2.4 cents to $2.296, and Los Angeles, where prices dropped 4 cents to $2.244.
U.S. diesel retail prices were unchanged at an average $2.116 per gallon last week, the EIA said. The average cost for a gallon of diesel is 64 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.