Posted in: Gas Prices,
by Patrick DeHaan on May 7, 2012 10:35 AM
Oil prices continued to shed value to start a new week today, as oil prices were seen dropping over $1/bbl to $97/bbl and change for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate. Brent crude oil meanwhile fell just half of that, to $112/bbl this morning. Many regions also saw declining spot prices, which should lead to lower pump prices.
Gasoline prices meanwhile dropped nearly 3-cents per gallon in the last week, and now stand 16-cents per gallon under their year ago values. Americans will spend roughly 1.38 billion dollars on gasoline today, down from a daily tally of 1.43 billion dollars just a month ago, meaning Americans have 50 million dollars per day more to spend than a month ago.
I expect gasoline prices to continue dropping in virtually all of the United States with the exception of the West Coast, where prices may rise before they start to see a downward trend. That's thanks to ultra tight supply. In its latest report, the California Energy Commission reports inventories of CARB RFG (the fuel used in California) dropped 9.8% in one week alone, and now stands a whopping 32.5% below levels of one year ago. This deficit is eye opening and is the cause for the recent uptick in prices along the West Coast. The situation will likely be temporary, but for how long, is unknown.
As for the rest of the nation, I expect the national average to fall 2-7 cents per gallon this week, likely close to the $3.70/gallon mark. Prices in Tulsa, Oklahoma lead the nation lower, with the cheapest prices in town there at a palsy $3.23/gallon. Meanwhile, San Francisco and Chicago continue to battle for most expensive average in the lower 48. Who wants the dubious title? I expect San Fran to beat out Chicago by next Monday. Poor Chicago- getting beat out in gas prices (good thing), but also getting beat out in basketball, and previously in hockey. Maybe if it can't win championships, the only thing it can win is falling gasoline prices.