U.S. Gasoline Sinks Amid Euro Zone Stress, Lundberg Survey Shows
The average price of regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations declined 15.9 cents in the past three weeks to $3.6243 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey covers the period ended June 8 and is based on information received from about 2,500 stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. The price is down 11.62 cents from a year earlier. The highest average this year was $3.9671 during the two weeks ended April 6.
“Europeans’ misfortunes are American fuel consumers gain,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said in a telephone interview. “Our dollar looks strong against the weaker euro, which has reduced the price of crude.”
Prices at the pump fell as West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange slid $7.38, or 8.1 percent, in three weeks to $84.10 a barrel on June 8. Futures have declined 23 percent since reaching a year-to- date high of $109.77 on Feb. 24.
Gasoline futures for June delivery on the Nymex sank 20.43 cents, or 7.1 percent, during the period to $2.6852. Gasoline has lost 21 percent since reaching a 2012 high of $3.4166 on March 26.
Futures have fallen on concern that growth is slowing in the U.S. and China and that the European debt crisis is worsening and will reduce fuel demand. Economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York reduced their forecast for third-quarter U.S. economic growth to 2 percent from a previous estimate of 3 percent, citing the slowdown in hiring and the global economy.
China last week cut interest rates for the first time since 2008 and lowered fuel prices to combat slower growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at a June 6 press conference left the door open to a rate cut, while highlighting the limitations of the ECB’s tools in countering the region’s financial turmoil.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told Congress on June 7 that the Fed is poised to act if Europe’s financial crisis threatens the U.S. recovery, while giving no clear signal of further easing in the near term. Bernanke on June 19-20 will lead the Federal Open Market Committee in a policy-setting meeting.
Oil may rise this week as OPEC ministers gather to discuss the group’s output, U.S. crude supplies drop and countries take steps to bolster slowing economies, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Nine of 25 analysts, or 36 percent, forecast crude will advance through June 15. Eight respondents, or 32 percent, predicted that futures will decline and eight said there will be little change.
On Long Island, regular gasoline was $3.76 a gallon, according to Lundberg. Los Angeles-area retail stations averaged $4.11.
The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the cities surveyed was in Seattle, where the average was $4.22 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Jackson, Mississippi, where customers paid an average of $3.18 a gallon.
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