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Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023


So how long will the low prices last? Energy analysts see several more weeks of low pump prices, which already have dipped below 90 cents a gallon for unleaded gasoline at some local filling stations. For that, motorists can thank the government of Venezuela, which last fall ceased abiding by OPEC limits on crude oil exports. Under OPEC rules, Venezuela is limited to producing 2.5 million barrels of crude oil a day. But the country now is producing about 3.6 million barrels a day, 42 percent above its quota, flooding the market with crude oil. Venezuela recently slipped past Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil supplier to the United States. Unfortunately, though, the good times at the gas pump could be derailed by a change in the recent wet weather. In particular, L.A.’s gas prices, which traditionally are higher than in other parts of the nation, have been driven down by the recent spate of El Ni & #324;o storms, which made for the wettest February in L.A. in more than 120 years. When the weather is wet, people tend to drive less. That drop in demand has sparked a price war among L.A.’s filling stations, said Scott Loll, a spokesman for L.A.-based Atlantic Richfield Co., the state’s second-largest seller of gas. “What you are seeing is competition in the marketplace working its wonders,” Loll said. “There has been a lot less driving, a lot fewer people on the roads, because of bad weather in February,” added Bob Aldrich, spokesman for the California Energy Commission. With spring fast approaching, however, that could change. Traditionally, gas prices rise during the warm spring and summer months, because of increased demand from drivers making long car trips. However long it may last, there is no question that the recent drop in gas prices has been the most significant in recent memory. California’s statewide average is running under $1.20 per gallon for unleaded gasoline, compared with $1.41 a gallon a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Nationwide, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $1.07. And some parts of the nation have seen their average gas prices drop well below 90 cents a gallon. In Atlanta, for example, the average filling station was selling gas for a mere 87 cents a gallon.

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