Gasoline fell after two days of gains as a rise in U.S. consumer prices boosted concern that demand for the fuel may decline.
Futures retreated as the consumer-price index increased 0.2 percent after no change the prior month, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a 0.3 percent gain. During the past 12 months, prices climbed 2.9 percent, the smallest year-over-year advance since March 2011.
“It makes sense that this metric that’s very focused on the U.S. would have a bigger impact on” gasoline, since it’s a heavily U.S.-consumed product, Jacob Correll, a commodity analyst at Summit Energy Inc. in Louisville, Kentucky, said by phone.
March-delivery gasoline fell 1.65 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $3.0306 a gallon at 9:32 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange after declining as much as 2.4 cents to $3.0231. Futures are up 13 percent this year.
U.S. gasoline demand last week was the lowest level for this time of year in weekly data since 2003, Energy Department data show. Consumption over the past four weeks was 6.4 percent below a year earlier.
“High gasoline prices are going to put a crimp in growth at some point, but it’s not going to stop growth,” Carl Larry, president of the New York City-based Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC, said by phone. “We are going to get used to this, we are going to change our driving patterns. It’s not going to slow the path of recovery.”
Heating oil for March delivery fell 1.51 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $3.1946 a gallon on the exchange. Futures have advanced 8.8 percent this year.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.6 cent to $3.529 yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices were 12 percent higher than a year earlier.