Gasoline Futures Fall as Budget Deadlock Drives Demand Concerns

Gasoline futures declined as concerns grew that American lawmakers will miss a year-end deadline to avoid triggering spending cuts, which could damp fuel demand.

Futures fell as much as 0.8 percent as Senator Joseph Lieberman said that time is running out for U.S. congressional leaders and President Barack Obama to agree on a budget deal to avoid more than $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

“It’s a hangover from Friday, and from seeing Congress depart for their Christmas holiday,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, said by phone. “There’s a growing expectation that we may not resolve the fiscal cliff this year.”

Gasoline for January delivery fell 1.6 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $2.7187 a gallon at 9:06 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

January-delivery heating oil dipped 1.14 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $3.011 a gallon on the Nymex.

Nymex trading will end at 1:30 p.m. today, an hour earlier than normal, before tomorrow’s Christmas holiday. Gasoline futures volume was 77 percent below the average of the past 100 days, and heating oil was 54 percent below normal.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.1 cent to $3.247 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. It’s the fourth increase in a row after prices fell 28 straight days.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Murtaugh in Houston at dmurtaugh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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