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Leveling of gas prices expected after latest average drop of 7 1/2 cents

CAMARILLO, Calif. — Gas prices will likely level out in the next few weeks after a nearly two-month decline, an industry analyst says.

The average price for a gallon of gas fell 7 1/2 cents to $1.53 a gallon in the latest Lundberg Survey since the survey released three weeks ago. That's 18 cents lower than June's record high average pump price of $1.71.

"We are still in the summer driving season, and strong demand can be evident in the past few days,'' analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday. "Crude oil prices are up by nearly 6 cents a gallon ... in the past few days. If they remain around $31 a barrel, then this gasoline price cutting will have to cease.''

Prices fell in every region, with the greatest drop in the Midwest. Gasoline prices were down 17 cents in Chicago, 13 cents in Cincinnati and 31 cents in Detroit, Lundberg said.

Suppliers were able to rush gasoline to the Midwest in July to solve distribution problems in the region, dropping the national average, analyst Lundberg said.

In early June, prices hit an average $2.13 a gallon in Chicago, making it the first city in the survey to exceed an average pump price of $2 per gallon.

The latest survey of 10,000 stations nationwide was conducted Friday.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was $1.49 for regular unleaded, $1.58 for midgrade and $1.67 for premium. At full-service pumps, the average was $1.85 for regular unleaded, $1.94 for midgrade and $2.02 for premium.

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