Gasoline Falls as Brent Drops, East Coast Motorists Dig Out Cars

Gasoline fell after a winter snowstorm blanketed the Northeast, reducing driving demand, and as Brent crude slipped.

Futures slid 1.2 percent after more than 2 feet of snow fell in parts of the Northeast at the end of last week, shutting roads. Gasoline’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate sank $2.89 to $29.86 a barrel and narrowed 81 cents to $8.76 a barrel against Brent.

“In the run-up to last week, everybody was worried about supplies in New York Harbor, but we got a little bit of a break because nobody could get out of their house,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “Before the storm everybody filled their gas tank, and now nobody can find their cars.”

Gasoline for March delivery fell 3.76 cents to settle at $3.0212 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude sank 0.6 percent in London to $118.13 a barrel as the Brent-WTI spread tightened for the first time in nine days, shrinking $2.08 to $21.10 a barrel.

“Certainly WTI-Brent has had a huge move in favor of Brent,” Andrew Lebow, a senior vice president at Jefferies Bache LLC in New York. “I don’t see any big-time news, any macro news. I think this TI rally is just part of a Brent-TI correction.”

Heating oil for March delivery declined 0.69 cent to $3.2315 a gallon.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.5 cent to $3.587 a gallon, AAA said on its website today. Prices are the highest since Oct. 24, and 8.1 cents above a year ago.

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