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By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – Gasoline prices dropped in Rhode Island and Massachusetts this week, AAA Southern New England reported Monday.
The auto club’s Dec. 5 survey found the average price of self-serve, unleaded regular gasoline at Ocean State stations was $3.40 per gallon, down 2 cents from last week. In Massachusetts it was $3.29 and nationally, $3.28.
Prices in Rhode Island have decreased for six of the last eight weeks, AAA said. A year ago, the cost of gas was $3.07. Monday’s prices ranged from $3.22 to $3.74.
Bloomberg News reported oil rose for a second day in New York on concern that tension in the Middle East will threaten supplies and as Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti proposed budget cuts before a European debt-crisis summit.
Crude advanced as much as 1.5 percent after a Tehran-based newspaper cited a foreign ministry spokesman as saying crude will exceed $250 a barrel if nations threaten to ban Iranian exports. Monti will present the 30 billion euro ($40 billion) plan in Rome, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will hold talks in Paris before a summit in Brussels on Dec. 9.
“The market is worried about the situation in Iran,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Conn. “The Italians came up with a new austerity budget plan, which seems to boost the euro and oil.”
Crude for January delivery climbed $1.08, or 1.1 percent, to $102.04 a barrel at 10:58 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices gained 4.3 percent last week after two weekly losses and are up 14 percent in the past year.
At stations in Rhode Island this week, the survey found average self-serve prices of $3.61 per gallon for midgrade unleaded, $3.74 for premium unleaded gasoline and $3.96 for diesel.