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After 9 weeks of increases, gas price falls 5½ cents

DALLAS — The average price for regular gasoline fell 5.56 cents a gallon in two weeks to $3.7394 a gallon on Friday, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

The survey covers the period ending March 8 and is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, Calif., company.

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The average has risen about 48 cents since Dec. 21, 2012, and is about 8 cents below the year-earlier price of $3.8148 a gallon.

‘‘After nine weeks of prices increasing we have a drop,’’ Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said Sunday. ‘‘We can expect more price cutting in the future, possibly more than a dime.’’

‘‘Both refinery margins on gasoline and retailer margins on gasoline appear healthy enough to allow for further price cuts,’’ she said.

Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile ­Exchange rose 12.39 cents, or 4 percent, to $3.2035 a gallon in the past two weeks.

Futures have climbed 14 percent this year, making gasoline the second-best performer on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities after cotton.

US gasoline stockpiles fell 616,000 barrels in the week ended March 1 to 227.9 million, the lowest level in nine weeks, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Refineries ran at 82.2 percent of capacity, the lowest ­level since March, amid breakdowns and seasonal plant maintenance.

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