Posts Tagged ‘AAA Exchange’

(WASHINGTON, December 31, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.29. While this price is more than 10 cents less than one month ago, it is 4.5 cents more expensive than one week ago and 1.6 cents more than one year ago. The year ended with an annual average of $3.60 per gallon – the highest on record and nine cents more expensive than the previous high of $3.51 in 2011.

After falling for 28 consecutive days, the national average price at the pump has now increased for nine of the past 11 days. Today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day and continues the streak of daily record prices that began on August 20. Barring a dramatic change overnight, tomorrow’s price at the pump is likely to be the highest ever to begin a year. Despite the pricier start, AAA expects national gas prices in 2013 to average less than they did in 2012.

On the final day of 2012, commodity and financial markets remain focused on negotiations in Washington to avert the “fiscal cliff.” If a deal is not reached and Congress does not act to quickly resolve the issue, most analysts predict that stock and commodity prices will decline as markets account for the likelihood of a weaker economy. Should an agreement be reached in the coming days, commodities prices could move higher as investor confidence returns and economic fears are allayed.

In 2012, prices increased to begin the year as geopolitical tension with Iran mounted and the “fear premium” in oil markets propelled the national average price at the pump to a high of $3.94 on April 5 and 6 – more than 65 cents higher than the price to begin the year. While a resolution to the “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Washington could pressure gasoline prices higher to begin 2013, it is unlikely that this increase would be on par with a year ago. Continued economic concerns, weak demand and increased domestic crude oil production are likely to temper any seasonal price increase in the coming months.

At today’s close of formal trading on the NYMEX, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled at $91.82 per barrel, up $1.02 on the day. Afternoon news that a compromise in Washington might be near helped send prices higher to the fourth consecutive settlement above $90 per barrel. Prior to December 20, WTI had not settled above $90 since October 19. While oil prices are rising, they remain more than $10 less expensive than the $102.96 settlement price to begin 2012. WTI peaked for the year at $109.77 per barrel on February 24.

(WASHINGTON, December 24, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.25. This is the same price as one week ago and 18 cents less than one month ago, but it is still two cents more expensive than one year ago. After declining for 28 consecutive days, the national average has now increased for four days in a row. Today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day and continues the streak of daily record prices that began on August 20.

Gas prices had fallen steadily for more than three months, as the transition to less-expensive, winter-blend gasoline; cheaper crude oil prices; increasing gasoline inventories; lower demand; and continued economic concerns have meant relief at the pump for drivers across the country. The national average was $3.87 on September 14, the day before much of the country began the seasonal fuel changeover, and dropped to a 2012 low of $3.22 last Thursday, December 20. As crude oil prices have firmed, the decline in retail gasoline prices has slowed and now reversed.  Whether gas prices continue to rise or again turn lower will be impacted by action – or inaction – in Washington surrounding the looming “fiscal cliff.” If a deal is reached before the end-of-year deadline it will likely be seen as positive for the U.S. economy, which could send crude prices and gas prices higher.  If a deal is not reached, markets are likely to slump and gas prices could go even lower.

Crude oil prices increased to begin last week, settling above $90 per barrel on Thursday for the first time since October 19. However as hope for resolution in Washington faded on Friday, prices again turned lower and ended the week back below that threshold. At today’s close of formal trading on the NYMEX, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled at $88.61 per barrel, down five cents on the day.

(WASHINGTON, December 17, 2012) Today’s national average of $3.25 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is the lowest price of 2012. Entering the weekend, the lowest price this year had been $3.28 on January 1; however, beginning on Saturday, the national average has reached a new 2012 low on three consecutive days.

Today’s price is nine cents less expensive than one week ago and 17 cents less than one month ago, but it is still a penny more expensive than one year ago. Despite a national average that has declined for 25 consecutive days and 64 of the previous 70, today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day. This continues the now 120-day streak of daily record prices that began on August 20. AAA expects the national average to continue to decline approaching the end of the year and the streak of year-over-year premiums could come to an end in the coming days

In addition to hitting a new low national price for 2012, several state averages have breached notable thresholds in recent days. On Friday, the average in Hawaii dropped to fractions of a penny below $4.00 per gallon at $3.9995 (AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report website reports prices to the nearest tenth of a cent). This was the first time since January 1 and just the second time since March 13, 2011 that the price in every state was below $4.00.

On Saturday the average price in Missouri fell below $3.00 per gallon, which marked the first time since South Carolina was below that level on July 7 that a state average has breached this price point. As of today, Missouri is still the only state below $3.00; however the average pump price in nine other states is within a dime of this threshold. Motorists in Hawaii continue to pay the most expensive prices in the nation at $3.98 per gallon. This is more than 20 cents above the second highest state average: New York at $3.75. The lowest state average price remains Missouri at $2.96 per gallon.

Relief is being felt by motorists across the country as pump prices continue to fall approaching the busy year-end holiday travel period. These prices have been driven lower by a number of factors, including the switch to winter-blend fuel, which is less expensive to produce; increasing gasoline inventories; cheaper crude oil prices; lower demand; and economic concerns. Prices in every state are less than one week ago, led by dramatic declines in the Midwest: Ohio – 21 cents, Indiana – 20 cents, Michigan – 18 cents, Minnesota – 16 cents, Kentucky – 15 cents and Illinois – 14 cents.

Crude oil prices have increased slightly over the last week, but they continue to trade lower than the same period in 2011 and have kept downward pressure on retail prices at the pump. At today’s close of formal trading on the NYMEX, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled at $87.55 per barrel, up 47 cents on the week and $1.99 from last Monday. WTI has not settled above $90 per barrel since October 19. Last year, the price of WTI settled above $90 per barrel on October 24 and did not settle below that mark again until May 23, 2012.

Suspend Sale of E15 Gasoline

December 17th, 2012 by AAA

By Robert L. Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

Published first in The Hill on Dec. 13, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and gasoline retailers should suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until more is done to protect consumers from the potential for costly auto damage and voided warranties.

Additional Resources

Research to date raises serious concerns that E15, a fuel blend consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and other problems such as false “check engine” lights.

The potential damage could result in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers. This is especially tough for most motorists given that only about 40 percent of Americans have enough in savings to afford a major auto repair.

In June, the EPA approved the use of E15, and a handful of gas stations in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas have begun to sell this fuel. There is a strong likelihood that retailers will market E15 in additional states soon unless regulators take immediate action to protect consumers.

Nearly all of the gasoline sold in the United States today is E10, which contains up to ten percent ethanol, primarily produced from corn. The ethanol industry has lobbied hard to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline as a way to increase sales and help meet the Renewable Fuels Standard.

AAA’s concern with E15 is not about ethanol. In fact, AAA believes that ethanol-blended fuels have the potential to save Americans money and reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels. The problem is that available research, including the EPA’s exhaust emissions tests, is not sufficient evidence that E15 is safe to use in most vehicles.

The ethanol industry’s response to reports of damage caused by E15 is that it is the most tested fuel in the EPA’s history.  The caveat to this assertion is that while the agency did test E15, their research focused primarily on exhaust emissions and associated components such as catalytic converters. While this research was consistent with the EPA’s mission, it never fully examined whether E15 might damage engines and fuel systems.

Some of those supporting E15 admit the fuel may cause damage. For example, the Renewable Fuels Association warned retailers that some underground storage tank systems, both new and used, exhibited reduced levels of safety and performance when exposed to E15. In addition, earlier this year the industry testified before Congress in support of legislation that proposed to give fuel producers blanket liability protections, while providing no protections to motorists. If the industry is not confident enough to take responsibility for the risks of E15, is it right that the risks be passed onto consumers?

Automakers advise they may void warranties for anyone using E15. Five manufacturers (BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen) state their warranties will not cover E15 claims. Eight additional automakers (GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo) state that E15 does not comply with fuel requirements specified in most owners’ manuals and may void warranties. It is difficult to comprehend why the EPA would choose to ignore all these warnings.

The automakers’ position is understandable given that most cars were never designed for E15. Only about five percent, or 12 million of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on U.S. roads today, are approved by manufacturers to use the fuel. These vehicles include flex-fuel models, 2001 and newer Porsches, 2012 and newer GM vehicles and 2013 Fords. So unless you drive a Porsche or a brand new car, you could be out of luck when it comes to E15.

The only responsible action to take now is to suspend the sale of E15 until consumers are better informed and protected at the pump. AAA did not come to this decision lightly. We arrived at this recommendation only after extensively reviewing the existing research, surveying automakers and conducting a national poll finding that only five percent of Americans had heard of E15.

The simple truth is that E15 is a product not yet ready for public consumption, and government regulators have an obligation to suspend sales until these issues are addressed.

AAA recommends the EPA, fuel producers and automakers collectively develop a long-term plan that promotes public education, while implementing improved labeling and warnings at the pump. Additional research also is necessary to better understand the full consequences of using E15 in older and newer vehicles.

AAA urges regulators and the renewable fuels industry to consider the interests of consumers first by immediately suspending the sale of E15 before American motorists are left footing the bill.

(WASHINGTON, December 10, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.34. This price is a nickel less expensive than one week ago and 11 cents less than one month ago, but it is still a nickel more expensive than one year ago. While the national average has declined for 18 consecutive days, today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day. This continues the streak of daily record prices that began on August 20.

The year-over-year premium during this recent streak peaked at 42 cents on October 7, following a historic surge in pump prices in California, before it closed to just fractions of a penny on November 12. The gap widened again to more than a dime to end November but has narrowed in December as retail prices have steadily fallen. With only three weeks remaining in 2012, it is all but certain that the average price this year will be the most expensive on record. The 2012 national average to-date is $3.62; the previous record was last year at $3.51.

Over the last week, the average pump price in every state has fallen. The weekly decline was most dramatic in Nevada (-9.9 cents), Idaho (-9.5 cents) and Missouri (-9.4 cents). Motorists in Hawaii continue to pay the most for gasoline at $4.02 per gallon, while those in Missouri pay the least at $3.05. If the price in Missouri falls below $3 per gallon, it would be the first time since July that a state average has broken that threshold. If the state average in Hawaii drops below $4, it would be the first time since New Year’s Day — and just the second time since March 13, 2011 — that no state has averaged above that price.

Pump prices across the country have steadily declined as U.S. demand for gasoline continues to be low and inventories continue to be high. The exception is the East Coast, where supplies are increasing but remain somewhat tight following the disruption to distribution following Hurricane Sandy and the limited imports from Europe due to the higher global crude oil prices paid by overseas refiners. While nationwide demand will likely increase slightly as motorists travel to visit family for the holidays, demand is expected to remain low to begin 2013, which will keep downward pressure on gasoline prices.

Lower crude oil prices have also contributed to the cheaper gas prices paid by consumers. At today’s close of formal trading on the NYMEX, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was down 37 cents to settle at $85.56 per barrel. WTI has settled lower for five consecutive trading days and is at it’s lowest price since November 15.


Gas Prices Drop Slowly in November to Lowest Average Since July

  • The national average price of gasoline dropped 11.9 cents a gallon (3.38 percent) in November. This was the fifth monthly decline in gas prices this year, and today’s national average of $3.387 a gallon is the lowest since July 12.
  • “Most motorists managed to save a little money on gasoline just in time for holiday shopping,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesperson. “Prices unfortunately did not fall as quickly as most of us would have liked as a result of factors ranging from fighting in the Middle East to optimism over the ‘fiscal cliff.’”
  • The monthly average price of gas was $3.44 a gallon, which was the lowest monthly average since July. The national average price of gas declined for 25 days in November.
  • Gas prices nationally have fallen nearly 50 cents a gallon on average since September 14, the day before much of the United States began the transition to winter-blend gasoline.
  • Gas prices remain at record highs for this time of year despite recent declines. The national average has broken the daily record high on 106 consecutive days for a total of 220 days this year (65 percent).
  • The average annual price of gas for 2012 will be the most expensive on record. The annual average to date is $3.63 a gallon, which is 12 cents more than the current record high set in 2011. Gas prices nationally would need to average about $2.05 a gallon through the end of the year to not break the record.
  • The average price of gas in areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, including N.J., New York City and Long Island, have returned to pre-storm levels now that gas stations are receiving regular fuel shipments. Average gas prices have dropped 18 cents a gallon in N.J., 21 cents a gallon in New York City and 26 cents a gallon in Long Island from peak prices following the storm.

 

Gas Prices Likely to Drop through New Year’s Day

  • AAA predicts that the national average price of gas will slowly drop through the end of the year and average between $3.20-$3.40 a gallon by New Year’s Day. To date, the lowest daily average of the year is $3.28 a gallon from Jan. 1.
  • “Motorists may luck out and pay the lowest gas prices of 2012 by the time they celebrate New Year’s,” continued Ash. “However, there is a small chance that pump prices could rise or remain flat as a result of rising oil prices and other economic factors.”

 

Today’s Gas Prices (Dec. 3, 2012)

  • Today’s national average price of gasoline has slowly dropped 11 days in a row to $3.387 a gallon, which is 3.6 cents less than a week ago, but 10.7 cents more than a year ago.
  • The five states with the highest prices are: Hawaii ($4.047), N.Y. ($3.863), Alaska ($3.792), Conn. ($3.782) and Calif. ($3.698). The five states with the lowest prices are: Mo. ($3.140), Texas ($3.143), S.C. ($3.154), Okla. ($3.154) and Tenn. ($3.161).

AAA’s average gas prices are updated daily at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com with average national, state and local retail prices for gasoline, diesel and E-85. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline.

(WASHINGTON, December 3, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.39. This price is four cents less expensive than one week ago and ten cents less than one month ago, but it is 11 cents more expensive than one year ago. Today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day and continues the streak of daily record prices that began on August 20.

Over the last week, prices in every state except Missouri and Kansas have fallen, led by drops in the middle of the country. While these week-over-week declines were most pronounced in Ohio (-15.4 cents), Michigan (-12.3 cents) and Indiana (-11.7 cents), these states are also three of only four where motorists today are paying more than they were on the same day last month: Indiana (+6.7 cents), Kentucky (+4.4 cents), Ohio (+2.3 cents) and Michigan (+1.3 cents).

 

Nationally, the largest one-week decline in pump prices was at the end of October when the national average dropped 14 cents. The largest increase during a similar seven-day period was 15 cents per gallon as prices surged higher to end February. Volatility has been more dramatic in the Midwest, where drivers have seen some of the largest price swings in the nation this year. Motorists in the region were squeezed to begin August, as prices rose some 40 cents or more per gallon in just one week, following regional production and distribution glitches. Prices in these same states had dropped about 25 cents in a week only a month earlier at the end of June.

While national retail gas prices have declined each day during the past week, crude oil prices have increased slightly, as market attention has focused on the impact of the looming U.S. fiscal cliff and the broader health of the global economy. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil breached the $90 per barrel mark during intraday trading, but ultimately settled up just 18 cents at $89.09 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX.  WTI has not settled above $90 per barrel since October 19.

AAA research reveals need for regulators and industry to suspend E15 sales to protect motorists

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2012) – A recent survey by AAA finds a strong likelihood of consumer confusion and the potential for voided warranties and vehicle damage as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent approval of E15 gasoline. An overwhelming 95 percent of consumers surveyed have not heard of E15, a newly approved gasoline blend that contains up to 15 percent ethanol. With little consumer knowledge about E15 and less than five percent of cars on the road approved by automakers to use the fuel, AAA is urging regulators and the industry to stop the sale of E15 until motorists are better protected.

Additional Resources

Only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today are approved by manufacturers to use E15 gasoline, based on a survey conducted by AAA of auto manufacturers. AAA automotive engineering experts also have reviewed the available research and believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false “check engine” lights for any vehicle not approved by its manufacturer to use E15.

“It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle,” said AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet. “Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.”

Unsuspecting consumers using E15 could end up with engine problems that might not be covered by their vehicles’ warranties. Five manufacturers (BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen) are on record saying their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15. Eight additional automakers (GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo) have stated that the use of E15 does not comply with the fuel requirements specified in their owner’s manuals and may void warranty coverage.

The only vehicles currently approved by automakers to use E15 are flex-fuel models, 2001 model-year and newer Porsches, 2012 model-year and newer GM vehicles and 2013 model-year Ford vehicles. These approvals extend only to cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs). The use of E15 is expressly prohibited in heavy-duty vehicles, boats, motorcycles, power equipment, lawn mowers and off-road vehicles.

“The sale and use of E15 should be suspended until additional gas pump labeling and consumer education efforts are implemented to mitigate problems for motorists and their vehicles,” continued Darbelnet. “Consumers should carefully read pump labels and know their auto manufacturer’s recommendations to help prevent any problems from E15.”

AAA urges fuel producers and regulators to do a better job of educating consumers about potential dangers before selling E15 gasoline. This outreach should include a consumer education campaign and more effective pump labels, among other potential safeguards to protect consumers and their vehicles. AAA also recommends additional testing to conclusively determine the impact of E15 use on vehicle engines and fuel system components. At least  ten gas stations currently sell E15 and that number is expected to grow, which means now is the time to suspend sales before more retailers begin offering the fuel.

The EPA in June officially approved the sale of E15 after receiving a waiver request from producers interested in expanding the use of corn-based ethanol. Despite objections by auto manufacturers, the EPA approved the use of E15 gasoline in flex-fuel vehicles and 2001 model year and newer cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles and SUVs. AAA urges consumers to follow the recommendations of manufacturers to truly protect themselves from voided warranties or potential damage.

AAA supports the development and use of alternative fuels. More than 95 percent of the gasoline sold in the United States contains up to 10 percent ethanol. Lower ethanol blends should remain available to consumers while the challenges with E15 are addressed.

The survey findings related to consumer knowledge of E15 are from a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 1,012 adults comprising 504 men and 508 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

(WASHINGTON, November 26, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.42.  This price is 13 cents less expensive than one month ago, but it is fractions of a penny more expensive than one week ago and 12 cents more expensive that one year ago.  Today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day and continues the streak of daily record prices that began on August 20.  The price at the pump this Thanksgiving was the highest ever for the holiday — 11 cents higher than the previous record set last year.

Over the last week, prices in 27 states have declined, led by Alaska (-10 cents per gallon), Utah (-6.8 cents) and Idaho (-6.2 cents), while motorists in Kentucky (+10.2 cents), Ohio (+7.1 cents) and Indiana (+6.5 cents) have seen the greatest price increases.  Drivers in Missouri currently pay the least for a gallon of gasoline at $3.14.  Drivers in Hawaii currently pay the most, at $4.07, and it remains the only state with an average price higher than $4 per gallon.

The national average price at the pump peaked this summer at $3.87 on September 14, the day before much of the U.S. began the transition to winter-blend gasoline.  Since that day, gas prices have fallen steadily (60 of 73 days) and are now 45 cents below the recent peak.  This decline was the product of the changeover to winter-blend fuel, which is less expensive to produce; cheaper crude oil prices; lower demand; and economic concerns.   Prices fell nearly nine cents during the second half of September and dropped more than 26 cents in October.  However, the national average has declined less than a dime to-date in November.  The reasons for this slowing decline are regional disruptions to distribution in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, higher crude oil prices, and bullish U.S. economic news.

Following the Hurricane, electrical outages and infrastructure damage disrupted regional distribution networks.  While these issues were slowly resolved, prices in impacted areas were pressured temporarily higher, offsetting falling prices in other regions.  Prices in affected areas have returned lower recently, however the decline in the national retail price of gasoline has now been impacted by rising crude oil prices.  Oil prices rose as high as $99 per barrel in September, before falling to less than $85 earlier this month.  From that low, crude prices increased to more than $89 per barrel to begin last week, and these prices continue to put upward pressure on retail gas prices.  Additionally, recent bullish economic news, including some positive signals in Washington, D.C. regarding efforts to address the looming U.S. “fiscal cliff,” have seen commodities prices, including gasoline, move higher.  A stronger economy would be expected to demand more gasoline, which puts upward pressure on prices.

At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was down 54 cents on the day to settle at $87.74 per barrel.

(WASHINGTON, November 19, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.42.  This price is two cents less expensive than one week ago and 28 cents less expensive than one month ago, however it is still five cents more expensive that one year ago and the highest price on record for this calendar day.  Today’s price continues the streak of daily record prices that began on August 20.

To begin last week, motorists in some of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy still faced long lines at the pump due to lingering regional fuel distribution issues in the aftermath of the storm.  In response to these lines, northern New Jersey, New York City and Long Island each imposed odd-even gasoline rationing policies.  As distribution has returned to normal and lines have dwindled, New Jersey ended rationing rules last Tuesday, after ten days, and Long Island lifted the restriction last Friday at midnight, after eight days.  Rationing in New York City was scheduled to end today but has been extended through Friday citing the Thanksgiving travel week.

Both long lines at the pump and gasoline rationing policies have drawn comparisons to those seen in the 1970s.  The circumstances, however, are very different.  While the recent situation was due to a temporary and regional disruption to distribution, the situation in the 1970s was due to a prolonged and nationwide supply shortage.

While pump prices in New York and New Jersey did increase following the hurricane, prices have just as quickly returned lower as power and distribution issues have been resolved.  Prices in Long Island are 16 cents lower than one week ago, prices in New York City are 11 cents lower and prices in New Jersey are eight cents lower.

Nationally, the retail price of gas has been falling steadily since mid-September.  Motorists in every state are paying less at the pump than they were one month ago, with the sole exception being drivers in Ohio. Consumers in the Buckeye State are paying one-tenth of a penny more than a month ago but still 36 cents less than in September.  Motorists in Hawaii ($4.11) and Alaska ($3.97) pay the most for a gallon of gasoline, while those in Missouri ($3.08) and South Carolina ($3.12) pay the least.

AAA expects that gas prices across the country will continue to decline approaching the end of the year, barring any major market moving news, as lower demand, cheaper winter-blend gasoline and economic concerns continue to pressure pump prices lower.

Two such potential market moving news items have been front and center over the last week: escalating violence between Israel and Palestine and the looming U.S. “fiscal cliff.”  While neither Israel nor Palestine is a major oil producer, increased geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East puts upward pressure on prices, as do signs in Washington of progress working to address economic concerns.  Oil prices last week remained flat, however developments with both stories prompted bullish market sentiment and sent prices sharply higher today.  At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was up $2.36 on the day to settle at $89.28 per barrel — the highest settlement price since this day last month.

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