Gas prices continue decline. California back below $4 a gallon image

Gasoline prices that have risen as much as 30 percent this year are going down. For example, gasoline prices in Massachusetts have fallen 7 cents over the past week, matching the biggest dip since July 2009.

AAA of Southern New England reported Monday that self-serve, regular is averaging $3.76 per gallon. That’s 12 cents below the national average and $1.03 more than at the same time last year.

On the same time, California’s average pump price has fallen below the driver-irritating $4-a-gallon mark for the first time since March 21, the Energy Department said. The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in California was $3.994 on Monday, down 6.2 cents from a week earlier, according to the Energy Department’s weekly survey of service stations. That’s still 92.6 cents higher than at the same time last year.

“There’s no doubt about it – $4 seemed to be a tipping point in terms of flattening demand,” said John Kingston, director of news for the Platts energy information service.

In other energy news, crude oil prices were lower on Monday amid concerns that demand and the global economic recovery were weakening.

And the good news is that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may raise production limits at its meeting tomorrow in Vienna by as much as 1.5 million barrels a day from actual production, Michael Wittner, New York-based head of oil-market research at the bank, said today in a note.

Crude oil futures for July delivery fell $1.48 to $98.74 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, although prices remain 38% higher than a year ago. In London, Brent crude for July delivery fell $1.47 to $114.37 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.