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Gas Prices Drop, First in Months

July 9, 2000

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) _ Gas prices dropped an average of 4.45 cents a gallon nationwide in the past two weeks, marking the first decline since prices began skyrocketing two months ago, an analyst said.

The weighted average price of gasoline dipped to $1.6689 Friday, according to the Lundberg Survey of 10,000 stations. The decline follows a series of price increases that pushed the average cost of self-serve regular in Chicago to $2.13 _ the first time ever a city’s overall average gas price topped $2 a gallon.

Dramatic drops in Midwest gasoline prices since the last survey June 23 helped bring the national average down, but prices elsewhere in the country have shown little change or are up slightly, analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday.

Chicago experienced a 28.5-cent drop in the price of a gallon of self-serve regular.

``The reason pump prices are down nationally is a good old-fashioned gasoline supply correction, in this case, in the Midwest,″ she said. ``Prices in several Midwest markets exploded due to actual supply shortages caused by complications in rolling out a new gasoline that affected mainly the Northeast and was exacerbated in the Midwest.″

Metropolitan areas with some of the nation’s worst air pollution were required to start using a cleaner-burning gas formula by June 1, causing storage and distribution problems in some areas.

Lundberg predicted Americans will see neither huge price cuts not huge price hikes this summer, thanks to the strong seasonal demand for gasoline.

Detroit, which is not using the reformulated gasoline now has the highest gas prices in the country with an average of $1.8810. Milwaukee, which also had high prices two weeks ago, fell 28.66 cents to $1.6649 a gallon.

The national average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was $1.6249 per gallon for regular, $1.7198 for midgrade and $1.8038 for premium. At full-service pumps, the average was $1.9447 for regular, $2.0321 for midgrade and $2.1082 for premium.

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