Gasoline prices declining for nowBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Gasoline prices have dropped slightly from their high of a few weeks ago, welcome news for anyone travelling during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
The Georgia state average for regular unleaded was $3.623 on Wednesday, according to AAA’s fuelgaugereport.aaa.com website. Three weeks ago, the state average was $3.76.
Along Bullsboro Drive on Wednesday, a few stations offered regular unleaded for $3.54, the lowest price in the Newnan area.
The national average crept up a bit, $0.003, from Tuesday to Wednesday, but the state’s average fell from $3.629 to $3.623.
A week ago, the average was $3.683.
Though prices are lower than they were three weeks ago, they are still significantly higher than they were just one month ago. According to fuelgaugereport.aaa.com , the state average one month ago was $3.471. The national average was $3.587.
“Relief at the pump has continued for motorists in a majority of the United States during the last week,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “I would caution motorists, however, not to sound the all-clear. “Refineries will be continuing their switch to cleaner-burning gasoline, and there certainly is the possibility that one mishap could send prices racing higher, much to the disappointment of motorists nationwide,” DeHaan said.
Last year, prices climbed steadily until they peaked in April, said Jessica Brady of AAA.
The market is currently being pulled in both directions, with a positive economic outlook based on the recent employment data and bearish fundamentals as oil stockpiles increase, Brady said. The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported an increase in U.S. jobs, putting the jobless rate at a five-year low and boosting the fuel demand outlook.
However, the nation’s crude stockpiles rose by 3.8 million barrels last week, the most since June, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The dollar also reached a high against the euro this year, helping to weigh down oil prices.
“Gas prices are expected to decrease further in the short-term and will likely stay below year-ago levels,” Brady said. “However, motorists are not in the clear yet. Pump prices may inch back up in April, before peaking as initially forecast by the EIA at the start of the year.”