Gasoline prices in Japan down for first time in 18 weeks

The cost of gasoline at the pump in Japan has fallen for the first time in 18 weeks. The decline comes after the government last week expanded its subsidy program to combat soaring gas prices.

The Oil Information Center says a liter of regular gasoline averaged 184.8 yen or about a dollar and 25 cents as of Monday. That's down 1.7 yen from the previous week.

Prices hit a record high two weeks ago and continued to rise through last week. They reached their highest since 1990, when the survey began in its current form.

Center officials say they expect gas prices will continue to fall next week due to the program's expansion.