Going Down

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Going Down

WASHINGTON -- U.S. drivers this week will find the lowest gasoline prices at the pump heading into a Fourth of July holiday in three years, the Energy Department reported.

U.S. retail gasoline prices increased for the third week in a row, rising 0.8 cents a gallon over the last week to a nationwide average of $1.39, based on a survey of more than 800 service stations by the department's Energy Information Administration.

The latest pump price is still down 8 cents from a year ago, and is the lowest going into a July 4th holiday week since 1999, when gasoline cost $1.13 a gallon. Prices are lower due in part to a surge in gasoline supplies.

The national price for cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline, which is sold at about one-third of the gas stations in cities and smoggier areas, was down 0.7 cents to $1.46 a gallon, EIA said. The West Coast had the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the average price in the region down 0.2 cents to $1.56 a gallon.

The lower Atlantic states had the cheapest fuel, with the average price also down 0.2 cents to $1.29 a gallon. San Francisco kept its top spot among major cities in fuel costs, but the price was down 0.1 cents to $1.687 a gallon.

The best deal at the pump was again found in Houston, where gasoline was unchanged at $1.29 a gallon. The report also showed gasoline prices down 0.3 cents in Los Angeles to $1.58, down 1.1 cents in Chicago to $1.47, down 0.4 cents in New York City to $1.43 and up 5.8 cents in Denver to $1.38.

The biggest year-on-year change in city pump prices was in Los Angeles, where gasoline costs have dropped 30 cents a gallon.

Separately, the nationwide price for diesel fuel increased 0.8 cents to $1.29 a gallon, down 12 cents from a year ago. Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel fuel at $1.39 a gallon, down 0.4 cents from the prior week. The lower Atlantic states had the cheapest diesel, up a penny to $1.24 a gallon.