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Gas prices may continue to drop

TAMPA — Drivers have been enjoying a steady decline in retail gas prices over the past 28 days, dropping from an average of $2.71 a gallon to $2.50.

Some experts predict more of the same through the summer.

"I think we can expect to see more of what we've seen, with prices declining incrementally," said AAA Auto Club South spokesman Gregg Laskoski. "That could mean a drop in 6, 7, 8 cents at the end of each week, which adds up over time."

Oil analysts are split on their predictions for crude-oil prices, which can affect retail prices. Some foresee the cost of a barrel dropping to $58 as the next milestone. Others project this year's prices to rally with news of a stronger U.S. economy, eventually reaching $75 a barrel, even higher than last year's high of $73.

"But when you're at $60 or $63 now, that's a heck of a climb," Laskoski said. "I don't see that happening."

Laskoski pointed out that during what is usually peak driving season, refineries' supply of gas still exceeds demand.

Of course, he said, a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico or any other unforeseen circumstance can change everything.

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

DECLINING GAS PRICES

Florida

Current: $2.503

Week ago: $2.576

Month ago: $2.713

Year ago: $4.058

National

Current: $2.468

Week ago: $2.537

Month ago: $2.690

Year ago: $4.090

Gas prices may continue to drop 07/20/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 20, 2009 2:03pm]

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