Friday, October 08, 1999

Gas prices start to settle down

Economist predicts slow, gradual decline

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Gasoline prices that have been on the rise since summer may finally be leveling out.

        For months, drivers haven't known what to expect when pulling up to the pump. A gallon of unleaded gasoline was $1.05 one day and $1.20 the next.

        But with crude oil prices leveling out and oil production staying steady, those guessing games might be over for now.

        “You can expect gas prices to stabilize,” said Jake Bournazian, an economist with the office of oil and gas at the Energy Information Administration in Washington, D.C. “They won't fall more than a couple cents over the next month — maybe a 2-cent to 4-cent decline.”

        He predicts a gradual decrease in prices over the winter.

        Nationally, a gallon of gasoline is at its highest price since May 1996, Mr. Bournazian said.

        As of Monday, Americans were paying about $1.26 for a gallon of regular, unleaded self-service gasoline. In the Midwest, drivers were paying about $1.23 a gallon, according to Energy Information Adminis tration statistics.

        That reflects about a 15-cent increase since mid-June.

        Prices at the pump rose after the Organization of the Pe troleum Exporting Countries earlier this year unanimously agreed on a plan to cut crude oil production by about 2.1 million barrels a day.


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