Fuel Reaches Two-Year Low


Gasoline prices have plunged more than 40 cents a gallon in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, reaching a two-year low.

The average retail price of a gallon of gasoline, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.15, down more than 8 cents per gallon in the past three weeks alone, according to the Lundberg Survey of about 8,000 convenience stores. It's the lowest price since March 1999, when the national average was about $1.08.

In some cities the average gas price dipped below a dollar a gallon. In Yardville, N.J., for example, drivers found unleaded gas for as low as 89 cents a gallon. Honolulu had the most expensive gas surveyed at $1.70 per gallon on average. In Atlanta, the average was just 90 cents.

The roller coaster ride for gas prices began in May, when the national average peaked at $1.76 per gallon. ``There had been pressure to prepare for summer driving. Demand was strong. An oversupply developed,'' analyst Trilby Lundberg said.

Prices bottomed out in August and began slowly rising -- until Sept. 11.

Crude oil prices have only recently begun rising again. OPEC wants to reduce production, but "weak economic conditions and swollen gasoline supplies are likely to keep pump prices low through New Year's and beyond," Lundberg said.

But, Lundberg warned, "all bets are off if military action in the Middle East should spread to any oil-producing nations.
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