November 23, 2008 / 11:36 PM / 11 years ago

Average U.S. gasoline price falls below $2/gallon

A gasoline pump nozzle is seen at a gas station in Arlington, Virginia in this June 11, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. average retail gasoline prices fell below $2 per gallon, due to a continuing slide in crude oil prices, falling gasoline demand and a weakening global economy, according to the latest nationwide Lundberg survey.

“It is the first time that the average price for regular gasoline has been below $2 a gallon since March 4 2005,” survey editor Trilby Lundberg said in an interview.

The national average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $1.9717 a gallon on November 21, a drop of nearly 33 cents in the past two weeks, based on a survey of about 5,000 gas stations.

The average U.S. price per gallon of regular gasoline has now fallen about 81 cents in the past month and is down about $2.14 since peaking in mid-July.

It is world demand and not OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) that drove prices of crude so high earlier this year and it is demand not OPEC that will call the bottom on crude prices, said Lundberg.

Earlier on Sunday, Venezuela’s oil minister Rafael Ramirez urged his fellow OPEC members to agree to lower crude oil supply by 1 million barrels per day at an emergency meeting of the group in Cairo on November 29.

U.S. crude fell as low as $48.25 a barrel on Friday, down almost $100 from record highs of over $147 in July. OPEC had agreed in October to cut output by 1.5 million barrels per day from November 1, but this move has failed to stem the decline in oil prices.

At $2.81, Honolulu, had the highest average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas, while the lowest price was $1.61 a gallon in St Louis, Missouri, according to the survey.

Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Bernard Orr

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