U.S. Gasoline Prices Tumble

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WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  Gasoline prices in the United States were, on average, at their lowest level since January on high inventories and economic concerns, data indicate.

Negotiations between Republican leaders and U.S. President Barack Obama over ways to avoid a series of tax hikes and budget cuts are stalled. Economic talks come amid rising sales figures and lower inflation in the U.S. economy.

Data compiled by Bloomberg News indicate gasoline inventories in the country rose 5 million barrels while gasoline traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange for January fell 1.7 percent to $2.60 per gallon.

That meant lower gasoline prices at the pump. Motor group AAA reports the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded Friday was $3.28, down nearly 10 cents from last week. One year ago, AAA states, motorists were paying, on average, $3.26 per gallon.

A string of refinery and pipeline issues in California this year pushed gasoline prices in some markets close to $5 per gallon. Hurricane Isaac, which struck the southern U.S. this summer, and Hurricane Sandy, an October storm that battered the East Coast, caused regional spikes in gasoline prices.

By May, the U.S. Energy Department said retail gasoline prices for all blends were around $4 per gallon, in part because of geopolitical tensions with Iran.

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