U.S. gasoline prices fell about 3 cents in the past two weeks to an average of $2.01 per gallon as worldwide supplies of crude oil increased, an industry analyst said yesterday.
"Crude-oil supplies have been more ample, allowing for lower oil prices," which are being passed along in the gasoline market, analyst Trilby Lundberg said, citing a nationwide survey of about 7,000 filling stations. "Gasoline prices are likely to fall further as crude oil supplies improve."
New York crude oil futures dropped 10 percent in the past two weeks as U.S. commercial inventories rose. Light, sweet crude oil for December delivery settled Friday at $49.61 a barrel, up 79 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
U.S. crude oil stockpiles have risen 7.5 percent in six consecutive weeks of gains, the Energy Department said. Supplies rose 2.2 percent, to 289.7 million barrels, in the week ended Oct. 29, the biggest increase since March, the department said Wednesday in a weekly report.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped oil at the highest rate in 25 years last month, and shipments from non-OPEC producers rose. Russian exports to countries outside the former Soviet Union increased 17 percent, to 4.05 million barrels a day, in the first 10 months of this year, the Russian Industry and Energy Ministry said.
The cost of crude oil makes up almost half the retail price of gasoline in the United States, the world's largest market for the fuel, the Energy Department said.
The lowest price for gasoline was in Tulsa, Okla., at $1.74 per gallon, the Lundberg survey said. The highest was in San Diego, at $2.40 per gallon. The nationwide average retail price of self-serve regular peaked in late May at a record $2.07, according to Lundberg data.