Gasoline prices drop below $3.60 in CowetaBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Gasoline prices have turned a corner, despite the unrest in the Middle East and recent government actions intended to further stimulate the economy.
Prices for regular unleaded dropped below $3.60 at a few stations in Coweta on Tuesday, though plenty of other stations were listing regular unleaded for $3.69.
Prices have basically returned to the levels they were in late August, before Hurricane Isaac reared its head and played havoc with prices.
The state average price for regular unleaded was $3.67 on Tuesday, according to AAA’s Fuelgaugereport.com site. That’s down almost nine cents from a week ago, when the average price was $3.759. A month ago, the state average was $3.70.
The national average was $3.81 on Tuesday, down from $3.859 a week ago, and up from $3.748 a month ago.
At the end of last week, petroleum prices settled below $93 for the first time since Aug. 10, according to Jessica Brady with AAA, The Auto Club Group. And this week is the first in three months that motorists will see significant price drops, according to Brady.
“While inclement weather, the Federal Reserve’s stimulus plan, and continued violence overseas have kept upward pressure on both oil and gas prices, last week’s report on fuel demand reversed trends,” Brady said. U.S. inventories of crude oil spiked by 8.5 million barrels last week and made the largest gain since March, Brady said. Reports also showed domestic fuel demand in August dropped to its lowest level in 15 years, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
“Whether or not this downward trend will continue is uncertain,” Brady said. “What is certain is that we are going to see more volatility in oil prices.”
“The relief that we’ve long been expecting and looking forward to is seemingly on its way,” said Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy. “While the U.S. and Canadian national averages didn’t shed a substantial amount, that fact we’ve ‘turned the corner’ bodes well, as we expect prices to continue to decline, at least in the near term,” DeHaan said.
“Oil prices are starting this work week down to $91.59 a barrel, while wholesale gasoline prices are also lower,” DeHaan said on Monday. There was little change on Tuesday.
“All eyes will be on Wednesday’s Energy Information Administration report on national stockpiles of petroleum,” DeHaan said. “It is likely that another increase will take place, the magnitude of which is unknown,” he said. “A big increase in inventories will likely mean lower oil prices.”