Drivers see slight drop in gas prices

7/18/2008 BURBANK Prices are still no bargain in the Los Angeles area, but after soaring to record heights last month, they're finally trickling back down.

In Southern California, gas prices have declined for nine consecutive days. They're not dramatic declines, but some drivers say they'll take any savings they can get.

"I have noticed definitely, by a few cents, and it's great," said Bea Adamiak. "I drive from Valencia to Beverly Hills everyday so it makes a huge difference."

"I hope it goes down a little more than it has been," said Rick Correa. "It's going to help all of us."

According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $4.49, down from a record high of $4.62. In Orange County, drivers are paying an average of $4.45 a gallon, a drop of 15 cents. In the Inland Empire, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded has dropped about 15 cents to $4.46. In Ventura, the average price at the pump is $4.50 a gallon.

Gasoline prices are tied to the price of oil, which has also dipped sharply this week. Refineries have plenty of supply and demand has eased. Crude oil has dropped almost $16 a barrel over the last few days. The price did rise slightly Thursday night, but even with the increase oil prices are down about 10 percent this week.

In Los Angeles, motorists are paying about 45 percent more for gas than they did a year ago. Southern California prices are among the highest in the nation. Many drivers say the prices are still too high.

"It's double compared to last year, so it's a big chunk out of my budget because I drive at least 60 miles a day," said Anthony Camaioni. "If they continue to come drop it will be, but I don't really know if a couple cents is really going to matter. They're still pretty high for me."

Some drivers think the price declines are temporary.

"I just don't know that it's permanent," said Teresa Williams. "I'm not ready to say that they're going back down permanently. I think we may still see them go back up again."

Drivers aren't celebrating yet, but they say the price drops are helping. A year ago Los Angeles residents were paying about $3.11 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline.

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