Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | September 10, 2012

(WASHINGTON, September 10, 2012) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline is $3.83. This price is just one-tenth of a penny more expensive than one week ago but is 14 cents more expensive than one month ago and 17 cents more expensive than this day in 2011.  Today’s price is the highest ever for this calendar day and continues the streak of more than three weeks of new daily records.  However, after rising 50 cents in 60 days from early July through the end of August, the price at the pump has now decreased for 7 of 10 days to begin September and is slightly lower on the month to-date.  AAA expects the national average to decline in the coming months as demand drops off following the busy summer driving period, as refineries switch from summer-blend to less expensive winter-blend gasoline and as hurricane season draws to a close.

Gas prices increased from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest to begin September as markets prepared for possible supply and distribution disruptions from Hurricane Isaac. However, as concern over the lasting impact of the storm has diminished and Gulf Coast refineries have successfully restarted production, prices in these states have dropped. Motorists in seven states — Calif., Conn., Hawaii, Ill., N.Y., Ore. and Wash. — continue to pay an average of more than $4.00 for a gallon of gasoline.  A list of the top ten highest state averages as of today is included at right.

As the national average price at the pump has stabilized to begin September, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have remained steady and now enter their sixth consecutive week above $90 per barrel. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX the price for WTI crude oil had increased 12 cents per barrel to settle at $96.54.

Conflicting economic factors last week resulted in little net change in oil prices.  Continued bearish economic news, both domestically and internationally, pressured prices lower, while tight supplies and rumors of a potential third round of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve (Fed) designed to stimulate the U.S. economy pressured prices higher.  A weaker global economy would be expected to demand less crude oil, which pressures prices lower.  Conversely, quantitative easing — when a central bank looks to stimulate an economy by injecting newly created money into the economy — by the Fed decreases the value of the U.S. dollar.  WTI crude oil futures are traded in U.S. dollars, and as the dollar weakens against foreign currencies, these futures become relatively less expensive to purchase and are a more attractive investment.

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