WASHINGTON, D.C. — The average retail price for gasoline fell to its lowest level in 14 weeks, as cheaper crude oil costs are passed on to the pump and Americans drive less, the government said Monday. The national price for regular unleaded gasoline declined 6.9 cents over the last week to $3.74 a gallon, the federal Energy Information Administration said in its weekly survey of service stations.
Gasoline is the cheapest since May 12, but still 96 cents a gallon higher than a year ago.
Fuel prices are falling because of cheaper crude oil, which is down $35 from its record high of $147 a barrel last month. In addition, U.S. gasoline demand is off by 1.6% so far this year, as high fuel costs and a weak economy discouraged Americans from taking to the roads.
Since last November, U.S. motorists had driven 53.2 billion fewer miles through June than they did during the same period a year earlier, according to the Transportation Department.
Gasoline is now below $4 a gallon, on average, in every region of the country, including California where fuel costs are usually the highest.
In the EIA's weekly survey, gasoline was the most expensive on the West Coast at $3.98 a gallon, down 7.7 cents. San Francisco had the highest big city price at $4.11, down 7.3 cents.
The Gulf Coast had the lowest regional price at $3.60 a gallon, down 8.6 cents. Houston had the lowest pump price, down 10.5 cents at $3.53.
The EIA also reported gasoline prices were up 2.7 cents at $4.03 in Chicago, down 7.9 cents at $4.03 in Los Angeles, down 7.2 cents at $3.94 in Seattle, down 6.1 cents at $3.80 in Denver, down 7 cents at $3.85 in Miami, down 13.1 cents at $3.76 in New York City, down 12.1 cents at $3.66 in Boston, and down 2.8 cents at $3.65 in Cleveland.
Separately, the average price for diesel fuel dropped 14.6 cents to $4.21 a gallon, the lowest since May 5, but $1.34 higher than a year ago, the EIA said.
The New England states had the most expensive diesel at $4.42 a gallon, down 16.2 cents. The Midwest had the cheapest fuel at $4.13, down 13.7 cents.