Tags: Oil | Prices

Drivers Catch a Break As Gas Prices Hold Steady

Friday, 26 Mar 2010 12:45 PM

Motorists filling up for weekend driving caught a small break at the pump Friday, as average retail gasoline prices held steady at the same level as a week ago.

Nationwide average retail prices shed less than a penny overnight to $2.811 a gallon. Pump prices are 13.3 cents higher than a month ago and 80.2 cents more expensive than the same time last year, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Motorists are paying 16 cents per gallon more now than they were at the start of the year.

Gasoline prices have climbed in recent weeks as refineries began producing more expensive blends to reduce pollution in warmer weather. On Monday, the national average gasoline price was $2.82 a gallon, the highest since October 2008.

Energy analysts and the government predict prices will reach $3 or more by summer, as more drivers hit the road.

Meanwhile, benchmark crude for May delivery fell 53 cents to $80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude has meandered in the low $80s for about the last two weeks as investors look for signs global oil demand is growing. Plentiful supplies and soft demand have kept prices more or less stagnant for months, but that could change as the economic recovery picks up.

"Overall, U.S. oil demand is definitely improving, laying the foundations for a broad-based recovery ... notwithstanding the weakness in Europe," Barclays Capital said in a report. "Thus, we continue to see oil prices consolidating in the current $75 to $85 range and on course to gradually move higher to $80 to $90."

In other Nymex trading in April contracts, heating oil fell 0.62 cent to $2.0631 a gallon, and gasoline lost 2.02 cents at $2.1975 a gallon. Natural gas gave up 1.3 cents at $3.968 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude fell 27 cents to $79.34 on the ICE futures exchange.

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Associated Press writers Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Hungary and Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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Motorists filling up for weekend driving caught a small break at the pump Friday, as average retail gasoline prices held steady at the same level as a week ago.Nationwide average retail prices shed less than a penny overnight to $2.811 a gallon. Pump prices are 13.3 cents...
Oil,Prices
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2010-45-26
Friday, 26 Mar 2010 12:45 PM
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