AAA Fuel Gauge Report | May 29, 2012
(WASHINGTON, May 29, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline is $3.64. This is four cents cheaper than the price one week ago, 18 cents cheaper than one month ago and 16 cents cheaper than one year ago. The national average price has now fallen for 42 of the past 43 days.
The 34.8 million Americans that AAA estimated traveled 50 miles or more from home over the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend found some welcome relief as they filled up for their holiday travel. Motorists are paying 30 cents less than in early April when the national average gas price peaked at $3.94 on April 5. In addition, motorists are paying less than Memorial Day from the year prior for the first time since 2009.
The decline in gas prices has come as global crude oil prices have dropped in response to economic concerns overseas and a strengthening U.S. dollar. Although the national average price has steadily fallen, this same relief at the pump has not been felt in many states west of the Rocky Mountains where tight gasoline supplies and refinery issues have increased prices. While the month-over-month price increases have been minimal in Nevada (0.7 cents), Montana (1 cent), Idaho (5 cents) and Utah (6 cents), the increases on the coast have been more dramatic: California (12 cents), Washington (19 cents) and Oregon (23 cents).
At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped 10 cents to $90.76 per barrel. Today’s declines took place as investors weighed bearish economic news in the euro zone including a downgrade of Spain’s debt and continued disagreement between France and Germany on how to handle Greek sovereign debt issues. Economic concerns in Europe helped push the U.S. dollar to a two-year high relative to the euro.
Continued weakness in the global economy and other international factors has pushed oil prices down recently. Last week, WTI settled below $90 bbl for the first time since October 21 of last year following continued reports of slowing growth in China and indications that Iran may allow U.N. inspectors into the country, which would remove some risk premium in oil prices.