U.S. Gasoline at Pump May Drop After July Advance, AAA Says

U.S. gasoline prices at the pump rose in July, stoked by increased costs for crude oil and ethanol, according to AAA.

The average price at the pump increased 5.1 percent, or 17 cents a gallon, to $3.42, said Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the largest U.S. motoring group. It was the largest July increase since the group began keeping records in 2000.

West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, settled at $89.78 a barrel yesterday, up 5.7 percent for the month.

Corn, the primary component of ethanol, has surged to a record as the worst U.S. drought in at least a generation lingered, threatening yields in the world’s biggest grower and exporter. Corn for December delivery climbed to $8.14 a bushel yesterday on the Chicago Board of Trade from $6.3475 on June 29.

The group predicted gas prices will remain relatively unchanged or slightly increase in August.

“Drivers will continue to face high pump prices in the weeks ahead as the summer draws to a close,” Avery Ash, a spokesman based in Heathrow, said in a written statement. “Relief fortunately may be around the corner as we expect gas prices to drop this fall.”

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