Nationwide gas prices slide back below $2 mark

Nationwide gas prices slide back below $2 mark The national average price of self-serve regular gasoline has ended a nearly four-week run above the $2 per gallon level, falling to $1.980 according to AAA's daily, online Fuel Gauge Report (ww.fuelgaugereport. com).

The national average has fallen 7.4 cents from the record of $2.054 it reached on May 26, but remains 47.7 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago when the average price was $1.503. Average gasoline prices still exceed $2 per gallon in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

The South Dakota statewide average price for self-serve regular gasoline is $1.924 per gallon. This is 4.3 cents lower than a month ago, but still about 38.5 cents higher than a year ago.

In Sioux Falls the average is $1.849, down 11.3 cents from last month. The Rapid City average is $1.951, up fractions of a cent from $1.947 last month.

The recent decline can be attributed to improving inventories of gasoline and lower prices for crude oil, according to AAA. Crude oil prices fell from nearly $42 per barrel to the current level of around $38 per barrel following the June 3 announcement by OPEC that it would increase its production quota in July and August.

Continued violence in Iraq and Saudi Arabia keep significant upward pressure on crude oil prices, though. AAA expects U.S. gasoline demand to remain strong as the summer drive season begins in earnest.

AAA's Fuel Gauge Report is based on data from Oil Price Information Service, the nation's most comprehensive source of petroleum pricing information. AAA purchases the data and makes it available free on the Internet as a public service.

Average daily prices for the nation, all 50 states and more than 250 localities are available for all grades of gasoline, making the site the most current and complete public source of fuel price information. For more information, go to www.aaa.com and click on Daily Fuel Gauge.

For a free copy of AAA's Gas Watchers Guide which provides motorists with 12 pages of helpful money and fuel-saving tips, stop by your local AAA office, or call 1-800-222-4545.

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