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    U.S. Gas Pump Price Drops to $2.18 a Gallon

    Analyst: If crude oil costs remain stable, pump prices will be on the rise soon.

    NEW YORK -- The U.S. gasoline pump price fell 2 cents in the past two weeks to $2.18 a gallon -- the lowest this year -- as the profit margins of refiners and retailers narrowed, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said, citing her survey of about 7,000 filling stations nationwide, Bloomberg.com reported.

    Prices for regular gasoline have declined 84.5 cents from a record average $3.025 a gallon reached in mid-August as lower demand following the end of the summer driving season has kept inventories ample. Additionally, wholesale gasoline futures in New York fell to their lowest since February on Oct. 17, the report stated.

    A Nov. 1 report by the U.S. Energy Department showed that motor fuel inventories for the week ended Oct. 27 are 2.3 percent above the five-year average at 204.6 million barrels. Supplies declined because refiners often shut units for maintenance at this time of year to prepare for increased production of heating oil in the winter months, according to Bloomberg.com. Gasoline is drawn from inventories while units are shut.

    "This small two-cent drop actually comes from losses in the profit margins of refiners and retailers," Lundberg said in an interview reported by Bloomberg.com. "If crude oil prices do continue to remain stable around $59 to $60 per barrel, prices will be coming up at the pump."

    The highest price for self-serve regular gasoline was $2.77 a gallon in Honolulu, Lundberg said, and the lowest was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at $1.98. On New York's Long Island, the price was $2.27 a gallon.

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