|Published:||Sep 27, 2010 5:06 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 27, 2010 2:06 PM EDT|
Drivers can thank the slower driving season and a glut of supply for the continuing slide in gas pump prices.
The national average for a gallon of regular was $2.694 on Monday, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That's 3.2 cents lower than it was a week ago and 19 cents higher than a year ago.
The highest prices are still in the West and Illinois, ranging from $2.825 a gallon to $3.513 a gallon. The lowest prices are in Texas - and parts of the South and the Midwest - from $2.499 a gallon to $2.573 a gallon. Louisiana drivers paid slightly higher prices, from $2.582 a gallon to $2.652 a gallon.
Prices have been affected by regional factors in the past couple of weeks. Motorists in parts of the South headed to pumps to fill up in anticipation of tropical storms that might have disrupted Gulf of Mexico production, but the storms steered clear, PFGBest analyst Phil Flynn said. In addition, prices in the Midwest spiked after the recent shutdown of a pipeline feeding Midwestern refineries. That pipeline is delivering crude again.
Most analysts expect retail gasoline prices to stay steady in October and November, as supplies remain plentiful and demand is listless compared with a peak summer driving season.
Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, thinks gasoline prices will fall over the next few weeks, to about $2.25 a gallon in the cheaper markets and to $2.75 a gallon in more expensive locations.
In other energy trading, oil prices edged lower as traders watched the stock markets for clues about the pace of economic growth. Stocks were a little lower in midday trading, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down about 30 points. The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 were also lower.
Benchmark oil fell 75 cents to 75.74 a barrel on the New York Stock Exchange.
Investors will be closely watching the latest indicators on U.S. consumer confidence on Tuesday and second quarter gross domestic product on Thursday, figures "which could make or break the equities rally," according to The Schork Report, an energy consultancy.
In other Nymex trading, natural gas fell as tropical storms threats to Gulf of Mexico production evaporated. Natural gas lost 13.7 cents to $3.744 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Heating oil fell 2.89 cents to $2.1017 a gallon and gasoline gave up 2.05 cents at $1.9266 a gallon.
In London, Brent crude dropped by 93 cents to $77.94 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.