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Gas prices down, for now

POSTED June 12, 2012 9:49 p.m.

Gas prices are declining, but the fall may be short-lived.

Californians now pay an average of $4.10 for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline, down 11 cents from a month ago, according to AAA Insurance’s monthly gas price tracking report.

That’s a relief for drivers who have seen prices surge on the West Coast.

“Over the last month, a number of states west of the Rocky Mountains saw their average pump prices rise as refining concerns and tightening supply applied upward pressure to the cost of gasoline,” said AAA Insurance spokesperson Matt Skryja. “The past week has seen much of this upward pressure removed, with many of the states experiencing declines in their retail prices.”

East Coast gas prices, which didn’t experience similar pressures, have fallen continuously. The dropping prices have pulled the national average down 22 cents in the last month, to $3.54 per gallon, with price declines for 55 of the last 56 days.

Those declining prices were driven by falling crude oil prices, down more than $20 per barrel since the beginning of May due to positive global economic news. Additionally, demand for gasoline has dropped in the United States over the past week.

Regional gas prices are below the statewide average, per AAA, down 9 cents in the last month to $4.03 per gallon. According to gas price tracking website GasBuddy.com, gasoline prices are 16.4 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

Gasoline in Turlock specifically can be found as low as $3.81 per gallon, at two sites.

But though prices are falling on the West Coast, gas prices are beginning to surge in the Great Lakes region, according to GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. That could indicate the beginning of a nationwide gas price rebound.

“While current factors still point to some falling gasoline prices in some areas, mainly the West Coast, oil prices haven't continued to shed as much value in the past week," DeHaan said. “Prices in the past few years have bottomed out in June, we could see a similar situation play out this year.”

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