NEW YORK (AP) — Call it an Independence Day discount.
Gasoline prices usually peak in the summer. This year, however, they peaked on May 5. The subsequent slide in pump prices has made gasoline an average 24 cents per gallon cheaper than what it was on Memorial Day.
The national average now stands at $3.55 per gallon. That's the cheapest gasoline has been since late March. It's still higher for this time of year than any other year except 2008, however.
Prices have persistently declined since May, following a similar drop in oil prices.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate has given up more than 16 percent since the beginning of May. The contract for August delivery lost 25 cents to $95.17 per barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent crude fell $1.22 to $111.32 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.
Oil fell after China reported that its manufacturing industry cooled off in June, slipping to its slowest pace in 28 months. Activity slowed down as credit tightened due to inflation-fighting measures and weaker oversea demand. The country is still expected to drive world oil demand for years to come, but slower manufacturing growth means demand for fuels may not grow as quickly.
In other Nymex trading for August contracts, heating oil dropped 2.2 cents to $2.9295 per gallon and gasoline futures gave up 1.35 cents to $2.9557 per gallon. Natural gas fell 3.5 cents to $4.358 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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