Oil up slightly; pump prices on the decline

NEW YORK (AP) — The price at the gas pump dropped 6 cents in the past week, good news for drivers as the July Fourth holiday approaches. The average price for a gallon of regular fell 1 cent Wednesday to $3.54. That's the lowest price since May 8, but still up 14 cents from a year ago, a time when gas prices were dropping along with a sharp downturn in oil prices.

Oil prices aren't as volatile this year. Benchmark oil for August delivery rose 18 cents Wednesday to close at $95.50 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That is in the middle of its range for the month of June, of $91.26 to $99.21 a barrel.

The Energy Department's weekly report on energy supplies had little impact. Crude supplies remained at 394.1 million barrels, which is 1.8 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Information Administration said.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, rose 40 cents to finish at $101.66 a barrel.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

– Natural gas rose 6 cents to end at $3.71 per 1,000 cubic feet.

– Heating oil was flat at $2.85 a gallon.

– Wholesale gasoline dropped 1 cent to finish at $2.73 a gallon.

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