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Gas prices drop for second week in a row

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Gas prices are slowly ticking downward after a peak earlier this month thanks to a dip in demand, the American Automobile Association says.

According to AAA, the average fuel price in Naples on Monday was $2.83 per gallon, down five cents in the last week. In Lee County, drivers saw a six cent drop this week, down to $2.76 per gallon. The statewide average was $2.80 per gallon, down from $2.92 per gallon on May 25.

The national average sat at $2.92.

“Gas prices continue to dip across the country, but remain nearly 50 cents more expensive than last summer in every state,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA gas price expert. “The higher prices seem to be influencing driving habits. While consumer gasoline demand remains strong, it is slowing and not growing.”

AAA reports that fuel demand dropped by just over 700,000 barrels per day in a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That drop but fuel demand below 9 million barrels per day for the first time since January, and for the first time in June since 2015.

This welcome news comes at the same time that many oil producing nations, including OPEC members and Russia, are considering increasing oil production after nearly two years of production cuts. Their efforts to boost prices did see oil hit four-year highs, but now an upcoming meeting on June 22 in Vienna could see the cartel reverse course fearing that demand could outstrip supply and hurt the economy.

What does that mean at the pump? Maybe more drops coming.

“Gas prices could drop another 5 cents this week, unless the market suddenly shifts course,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Prices at the pump are still adjusting to the recent drop in oil and wholesale gasoline, due to the potential of increased crude output from OPEC. However, there is still volatility in the market, and pump prices could move higher if OPEC decides against easing production cuts at a meeting later this month.”

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