Good News For Drivers: Gas Prices Can Fall Even More

pumping-gasGasoline prices dropped on Tuesday for the 26th straight day as lower oil prices continue to work their way to the nation’s drivers. It looks like there is room for pump prices to move even lower. After hitting a national average of $2.929 per gallon on May 6, retail gasoline prices have fallen 20.2 cents, or nearly 7 percent, to $2.727 per gallon on Tuesday. In Monmouth and Ocean counties, the average is $2.635, down from $2.698 a week ago. Tom Kloza of the Wall-based Oil Price Information Service said while the daily streak of lower prices is likely to end before mid-June, prices still have another 10 or 12 cents to fall.

Prices in some parts of the country already are well below the national average. Ohio, Missouri, South Carolina and Oklahoma are among the states where gas has dropped below $2.60 per gallon.

Retail gasoline prices fell 0.5 cents overnight, 5.5 cents in the past week and 15.6 cents in the past month. Pump prices are 21.5 cents higher than a year ago.

The Energy Department’s weekly report on gasoline prices showed a national average of $2.73 for a gallon of unleaded regular last week. Pump prices declined in all parts of the country. Gas was still around $3 a gallon on the West Coast. The cheapest gas, at an average of $2.63 a gallon, was in the Midwest.

Oil prices finished lower on Tuesday after testing higher levels. Benchmark crude for July delivery fell $1.39 to settle at $72.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil prices moved higher earlier in the session as the euro rose against the dollar, but fell back as the euro weakened again. Commodities priced in dollars, like oil, become more expensive for investors holding euros when the dollar gains.

U.S. stock markets rose at first, after the Commerce Department said construction spending grew by the biggest amount in nearly a decade and the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index came in better in May than economists forecast. The bottom fell out at the end of the day. Energy stocks were pounded by news of a criminal probe into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost about 113 points. The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 were down more than one and a half percent.

In other Nymex trading in July contracts, heating oil lost 3.41 cents to settle at $1.9704 a gallon. Gasoline lost 4.41 cents to close at $1.9825 a gallon. Natural gas fell 9.3 cents to settle at $4.248 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, the Brent crude July contact fell $1.94 to settle at $72.71 on the ICE futures exchange. AP

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