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Gas prices unlikely to fall as fast as oil

Not so fast. That’s the message for drivers hoping a recent drop in oil prices will soon show up at the gas station.

Oil has dropped $9 per barrel, or 9.1 percent, in less than two weeks. Gas prices tend to lag changes in oil, but experts don’t expect a significant move lower until the middle of October.

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Oil ended at $89.98 on Wednesday, down $1.39, or 1.5 percent. The national average price for gas was $3.805 per gallon, a record high for this time of year, and up 31 cents from the same date last year.

Gas prices should be at a record for early October when President Obama debates Republican challenger Mitt Romney next week in Denver.

Gas has remained stubbornly high although economic growth is tepid and demand for gasoline is lower than a year ago. Oil rose about 25 percent from late June through late August. More recently, refinery issues have tightened the supply of gas on both coasts. And there are lingering effects from Hurricane Isaac, which disrupted refineries and imported oil deliveries along the Gulf Coast.

It probably will be a few more weeks before supplies build back up in certain markets and lead to a noticeable decline in pump prices, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.

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