Gas Prices Are Slightly Down

Energy prices rose during all week as frigid temperatures blanketed the Midwest and Northeast. However, retail gasoline prices are yet to show a corresponding increase in Tampa Bay.

Crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed last week below $70 a barrel for the first time since October, as a major winter storm pummeling the east coast pushed crude oil back up to the mid-$70s range. The U.S. Dept. of Energy reported that the country's oil, natural gas and heating oil supplies have all dropped more than expected.

“Gasoline prices haven’t risen yet because even with a decrease in oil, there is still an extraordinary amount of inventory with crude oil and gasoline stocks well above last year’s levels at this time,” said Gregg Laskoski, managing director of public relations for AAA Auto Club South in Tampa, in a release.

Prices of gas in Tampa Bay are averaging $2.56, down slightly from the average price of $2.61 a month ago but nearly a dollar more than the $1.61 price a year ago, reports.

It was also reported, Sacramento-area’s average gas price inched a half-penny higher Monday and four cents during the past week, as travelers get ready for the busy holiday season, according to the AAA’s Fuel Gauge report.

The four-county region’s average price of $2.88 per gallon is little changed from the $2.86 a month ago — but a dramatic increase from the $1.76 a year ago. But the price at the pump is far from the record $4.57 on June 17, 2008.

Chico-Paradise and Stockton-Lodi boast the lowest price at $2.85, while drivers buying gas in San Francisco and Santa Barbara pay about $3 per gallon, the highest price in the state.

Sacramento ’s average price is lower than the statewide figure of $2.91, reports.

News agencies also report, gasoline prices peaked at the end of October and have been edging down since.

Retail prices were flat at $2.59 per gallon Monday, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Prices have fallen 1.3 cents in the last week, and are 10 cents below the peak on Oct. 31.

The government is due to release its own gas price averages late Monday.

In other Nymex trading in January contracts, benchmark crude fell 89 cents to settle at $72.47 per barrel the final day of trading. Heating oil fell 1.15 cents to settle at $1.9452 while gasoline fell 2.57 cents to settle at $1.8691. Natural gas fell 11.3 cents to settle at $5.669 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude for February delivery fell 76 cents to settle at $72.99 on the ICE Futures exchange, The Associated Press reports.

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