After two months of steady increases, the price of gasoline has dropped nearly 2 cents over the past couple of weeks just in time for the record-breaking numbers of Americans taking to the road for the Independence Day celebrations on July 4.

Lundberg Survey says for the first time since mid-April, the average price of regular gasoline across the United States has dropped 1.68 cents over the last two weeks to $2.8494 per gallon, despite increasing consumer demand for gas. This is 86 cents less than the average price Americans paid per gallon at the same time last year.

Among the 48 lower states, San Diego has the highest gasoline price at $3.52, while Jackson, Mississippi has the lowest price at $2.44 a gallon. Los Angeles is also at the high end with $3.50, while customers in Long Island, New York are charged $2.96 per gallon at the pumps. Lundberg Survey arrived at its conclusion based on data gathered from 2,500 gas stations across the country.

Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Services, says the drop in average gas price is due to the increased production seen at U.S. oil refineries, which produced the highest amount of gas since more than two decades ago. Lundberg says she is expecting gas prices to continue on their downward direction, which is good news for the millions of Americans that are expected to take their Fourth of July festivities to the road.

"In the absence of any significant rise in crude oil prices, which have been quite stable over more than two months, the flush supply and high refining capacity utilization in the U.S. has offset the impact of our robustly growing gasoline demand," Lundberg tells Reuters.  

Data released by the Energy Information Administration shows oil refineries increased their production in time for the summer driving season by 2.9 percent. As of June 19, refineries have produced 218.5 million barrels of gas compared to 1.14 million barrels.

As many as 35.5 million Americans are believed to be taking their cars for a road trip at least 50 miles away from their homes on the weekend of July 4, a considerable increase over the 35.3 million Americans that took a road trip on July 4 last year. All in all, a total of 41.9 million Americans will be travelling via all forms of transportation, says motoring club AAA. 

Photo: Matthew Rutledge | Flickr

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