Gasoline prices are expected to continue falling, according to a June 28 story by Thor Valdmanis in USA Today. A sluggish economy and slack demand drove crude oil prices to their lowest levels in more than a year on June 27, while gasoline futures fell to an 18-month low. Rising motor fuel inventories indicate that refineries are producing enough fuel to meet summer demand. Gasoline for July delivery fell as much as 6.29 cents, or 8.1 percent, to 71.5 cents a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest price since Jan. 14, 2000. Futures, which represent wholesale prices, peaked at $1.175 a gallon on May 24. Regular gasoline at the pump fell 6.3 cents last week to an 11-week low of $1.538 a gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Average nationwide prices were 12 cents cheaper than a year earlier. Gasoline prices are now down by more than a third from a record in May, when low inventories spurred fears of shortages in some regions. The drop in gasoline futures helped pull crude oil lower. Crude oil for August delivery fell $1.37, or 5.1 percent, to $25.61 a barrel on the Nymex, lowest since April 27, 2000. Wednesday's sell-off came after the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on June 26 that U.S. gasoline inventories -- at historically low levels just months ago -- have grown to their highest level in 2 years. The API said that gasoline stocks grew by 3.3 million barrels to 222.9 million barrels, double analysts' estimates and more than 17 million barrels above last year's levels, as demand for gasoline continues at a steady level. It was the tenth consecutive weekly increase in gasoline supply, with stocks growing a total of 30 million barrels. Stocks of reformulated gasoline, required in the nation's smoggiest cities such as Los Angeles during the summer months, grew by 3.18 million barrels last week. The API reported that U.S. crude oil inventories grew by 565,000 barrels to 313.5 million barrels last week, while stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose 2.2 million barrels to 111 million barrels. While inventories continue to rise, oil supplies could be affected in coming days by a United Nations debate about Iraqi oil exports and by an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting next week. Major oil and refining stocks have fallen along with dropping gas and crude prices. ExxonMobil fell $1.34 to $87.22, Chevron lost $3.30 to $91.40, and Texaco dropped $2.40 to $67.90.