Monday, August 10, 2015

As Crude Oil Prices Slide So Do Prices at the Pump

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States fell 11 cents in the past two weeks, pulled down by the ongoing slump in crude oil prices, according to the Lundberg survey released Sunday.

Regular grade gasoline fell to an average price of $2.71 a gallon, according to the biweekly survey dated Aug. 7, down 11 cents from the previous survey on July 24.

Gasoline is down 81 cents a gallon from the same year-ago period, according to the survey.

"This is a continuation of dynamics that have been building in the past several weeks, as both U.S. and global benchmarks are down steeply again," said survey publisher Trilby Lundberg in Camarillo, California.

Brent, the global crude benchmark, touched a six month low of $48.45 a barrel Friday before settling at $48.61. The price has fallen by 23 percent in the past six weeks.

U.S. crude hit a four-month low Friday of $43.80 before settling at $43.87. The U.S. benchmark slid 7 percent on the week and lost 26 percent in the last six weeks.

The low pump prices has led to a surge in demand and is enticing refiners to ramp up production, resulting in large stockpiles of gasoline. The build in gasoline stocks have helped keep prices low, Lundberg said.

"U.S. refiners are cranking up the volumes, running at high rates and we are more than meeting the strong demand for gasoline," Lundberg said.

The highest-priced gasoline in the survey area of the 48 contiguous U.S. states was in Los Angeles at $3.80 a gallon, thanks in large part to a refinery outage. The lowest price was in Charleston, South Carolina, at $2.19 a gallon.

Pump prices should continue to fall, Lundberg said, as there is no clear end to the ongoing rout in oil prices.

"Unless there is some change in the crude oil market, we will probably be seeing more of the same in the next few days," she said.

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