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Oil prices down about 12 percent since the beginning of May, gas pump price averages $3.73
NEW YORK (AP) ' The price of oil continues to decline as supplies grow in the U.S.
Benchmark U.S. crude on Wednesday fell by 57 cents to $93.41 per barrel in New York. It dipped to a seven-month low of $91.81 earlier and is down about 12 percent overall since the beginning of May.
Brent crude, which helps set the price of oil imported into the U.S., fell by 87 cents to $110.58 per barrel in London.
Prices fell after the government reported that U.S. oil supplies grew last week by 2.1 million barrels. That's more than analysts expected. Storage levels are now the highest in nearly 22 years. Prices tend to decline when more oil is available.
Oil prices tumbled this month as the economy appeared to cool, and major producers like Saudi Arabia delivered more supplies to the world market. Analysts and investors are also concerned about Europe's ability to trim massive government debts. Voters in France and Greece recently ousted many top officials who supported spending cuts and other reforms. If the eurozone cannot solve its debt problems, it will weaken an economy that consumes 18 percent of the world's oil. It also could contribute to a global banking crisis that would hurt the U.S., China and other countries.
At the pump, U.S. retail gasoline prices were flat at a national average of $3.73 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. The price of a gallon of regular has held steady since Friday, though experts say the average pump price could fall as low as $3.50 per gallon by the Fourth of July.
In other energy futures trading, heating oil lost 1.6 cents to $2.917 per gallon, while wholesale gasoline was virtually unchanged at $2.9476 per gallon. Natural gas rose 8 cents to $2.578 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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