Gasoline prices are cooling just as summer heats up, dropping for the first time in 10 weeks.
The average for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 3.99 cents in the three weeks ended Friday, July 11 to $3.6699 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc. The survey is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, Calif.-based company.
The average, which is 7.91 cents below a year earlier, may fall another four cents to six cents in the next several days, Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said in a telephone interview on Sunday.
“The wholesale price cuts are continuing now as refiners pass along the lower prices they’re paying for crude oil,” Lundberg said. “If we can assume that crude oil prices don’t shoot right back up, we may see further declines at the pump.”
The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 states among the markets surveyed was in San Francisco, at $4.12 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Tulsa, Okla., where customers paid an average $3.35 a gallon. Regular gasoline averaged $3.92 a gallon on Long Island, N.Y., and $4.09 in Los Angeles.
West Texas intermediate crude (WTI) fell $6.43, or 6 percent, to $100.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in the three weeks to Friday.
“The price decline came because of crude oil prices, which are reacting to the news that Libya eked out a production rise and Iraq output hasn’t been decimated by the fighting there,” Lundberg said.
WTI capped its third weekly drop in a row as Libya reopened two oil-export terminals and Kurdish forces took over two oil fields in Iraq.
Libya was producing 350,000 barrels a day on Saturday, more than double the output of a month ago, according to Mohamed Elharari, a spokesman at National Oil Corp.
Shipments from Iraq’s southern region should recover this month to about 2.6 million barrels a day, compared with 2.42 million in June, barring technical problems, the International Energy Agency said Friday.
Crude inventories in the U.S. fell for the second straight week, dropping 2.37 million barrels to 382.6 million in the seven days ended July 4, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.
Gasoline futures on the Nymex slipped 21.92 cents, or 7 percent, to $2.9085 a gallon in the three weeks ended on Friday as supplies increased and demand slipped.
Gasoline stockpiles increased 579,000 barrels to 214.3 million for the week ended July 4, EIA data show. Supplies in the central Atlantic region, which includes New York, the delivery point for Nymex gasoline futures, climbed 1.14 million barrels to 30.5 million, a four-week high. Demand over the four weeks was 9.04 million barrels a day, 0.4 percent below a year earlier, EIA data show.