NEW YORK (AP) — Gasoline prices have begun their seasonal slide.
Better late than never, drivers say.
The national average retail price has fallen for ten straight days and is now $3.74 per gallon. It could mark the beginning of the usual autumn decrease that was delayed this year because of refinery problems and high oil prices.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, predicts drops of 5 cents to 15 cents per week for the next three weeks. Over the next several weeks the national average could be at or below where it was last year.
"There's some nice relief coming," he said.
It can't come soon enough for Mary Hess, who commutes 40 miles each way from her home in Sodus Point, N.Y. to Oswego, N.Y., where she teaches English. She hasn't noticed much of a drop — she's still paying $4.04 per gallon to fill up her Buick Century. Gasoline is among the biggest parts of her budget — and she doesn't think it should be.
"I'm frustrated more than anything," she said.
Gasoline prices typically decline in the fall as refiners switch to cheaper fuel blends and drivers take a break from road trips. This year a series of refinery and pipeline problems sent gasoline supplies plummeting. That sent wholesale gasoline buyers and traders scrambling to purchase whatever they could, at ever higher prices, to secure supply.
"It was a cluster of random coincidental events and the buying had a panic nature to it," Kloza said.
Gasoline prices were already steep — they were on track to set an annual record by mid-summer — because of relatively high global crude oil prices. Brent, the type of crude most important in determining the price of gasoline, has averaged $112 per barrel this year. Global oil demand is on track to set a record this year despite economic uncertainty. And the standoff over Iran's nuclear program has raised fears that oil supplies could be disrupted if tensions escalate.
Against that backdrop, the nation's gasoline infrastructure got slammed.
In August, ruptures to pipelines that serve the Great Lakes and refinery outages in Indiana and Illinois sent gasoline prices higher in the Midwest. Then a fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif. crippled a major contributor to California's gasoline supplies. Then Hurricane Isaac forced several Gulf Coast refineries to shut or slow down operations.
As those refineries ramped back up, California saw more trouble. A pipeline that serves Bay Area refineries closed, two refineries were offline for maintenance and an Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery in Torrance, Calif., near Los Angeles shut down because of a surprise power outage.
The national average price kept rising after Labor Day, when prices normally start to fall. It topped out for the season at $3.87 on Sept. 14 and California prices hit a record $4.67 per gallon on Oct. 7. On the East Coast, gasoline supplies dipped to a four-year low, keeping prices stubbornly high.
Then — finally — the market began to stabilize. The government reported Wednesday that gasoline supplies are heading back up. They had fallen for 10 of the last 11 weeks.
That led to a dramatic drop in wholesale gasoline prices in regional spot markets, according to Kloza, that will soon translate into lower prices at the pump.
California spot prices are down 30 percent over two weeks. Prices elsewhere in the country have declined between 15 percent and 27 percent. In Chicago, wholesale prices have fallen to $2.36 per gallon. That could bring retail gasoline prices in some parts of the Midwest to near $3 per gallon in the coming weeks.
The average price at the pump fell 22 cents in Ohio and 16 cents in Wisconsin in the past week. Those are two key battleground states in the presidential election, with 18 and 10 electoral votes, respectively.
The rest of the nation's drivers won't be quite so lucky. But, still, the national average could be on its way to $3.50 per gallon, or below.
National average starts to drop as season changes
NEW YORK (AP) — Gasoline prices have begun their seasonal slide.
Renee's House of Quilting helps quilters reap what they sew
The bolts of fabric at Renee’s House of Quilting are a sunset of color even when the world outside is gray and dreary.Continued ...
Zakey owner celebrates six years in business
Nabiel Musleh’s master’s degree in international relations seems fitting, given his unofficial role as northern Michigan’s ambassador to the Middle East.Continued ...
Glenn Puit: Making work, and money, at 68
The shelves in Paul T. Henry’s quaint little store tucked away in a corner of Benzie County offer chips, pop, chili, cigarettes, laundry soap, beer and liquor. There’s more at Paul’s Party & Tackle Store than merchandise, though.Continued ...
Business in Brief: 04/16/2014
Britten acquires G.R. company; Bella Fortuna North job fair; Tourism industry training offered. (Plus more)Continued ...
Business Memoranda: 04/16/2014
Cash n Carry Flooring added Robin Whipple to their team of sales professionals. She has been in the flooring business for 26 years, specializing in all aspects of flooring design.Continued ...
Leadership Lunches popular with owners
Author Stephen Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People advocates for leaders to continue “sharpening the saw” by investing in themselves.Continued ...
Nestle Toll House Café opens at mall
Two northern Michigan business partners are opening a sweet business at the Grand Traverse Mall. Sweet, indeed.Continued ...
Fred Goldenberg: Cutting budgets and inflicting pain
Once again Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has trundled out his latest iteration of his 2011 budget which went down in flames during his 2012 vice-presidential bid.Continued ...
Putting the spark back into the manufacturing sector
Travis Rogers doesn’t blame outsourcing, mechanization or regulation for Michigan’s stalled manufacturing industry. There’s just no spark in it.Continued ...
Sew Unique moving up to Robert Frost
Sew Unique Alterations and More is moving up in the world, from the basement of Ella’s Fashion and Furnishings to the first floor in Robert Frost Fine Footwear.Continued ...
- Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Old Hampel's Safe & Lock Shop demolished
The old Hampel’s Safe & Lock Shop has been demolished to make way for a family friendly café.Continued ...
GM replacing two executive positions
General Motors is replacing the executives in charge of communications and human resources as it struggles with a string of embarrassing recalls that have led to congressional hearings and federal investigations.Continued ...
Gas prices rise 6 cents over past week
AAA Michigan says gasoline prices have risen about 6 cents during the past week to a statewide average of about $3.71 per gallon.Continued ...
- Sunday, April 13, 2014
The Franklin restaurant a big deal
A new two-story restaurant at Cass and Front streets is expected to create up to 100 jobs in a project that features a developer’s $5-plus million investment in the downtown corridor.Continued ...
Winter wallops Cherry Capital Airport activity
This year’s brutal winter caused a noticeable drop in airline flights and passenger counts at Cherry Capital Airport.Continued ...
Fred Goldenberg: Coffee, cake and curtains
I sat eating coconut cake and drinking coffee at an area cafe recently discussing with others a topic most people shy away from.Continued ...
Small businesses in limbo again on federal tax breaks
Small businesses are in limbo as they wait for Congress to make decisions that could save them a lot of money.Continued ...
- Saturday, April 12, 2014
Governor Snyder sees upside in agriculture
Gov. Rick Snyder said Michigan can realize huge growth in agriculture by encouraging more people to go into farming and related careers.Continued ...
Ag Forum: New network advances locally grown food
A new Michigan Farm to Institution Network is helping schools, hospitals, day care centers, senior living and other institutions ramp up their purchases of locally grown food.Continued ...
Futures File: Chilly start for corn planting
Winter’s grasp continues to linger across much of the Midwest, forcing some farmers to wait for a thaw.Continued ...
- Friday, April 11, 2014
Career Kickstart kicks off today
Job seekers can get free professional clothing and lots of advice on resumes and interview skills at an event today at Northwestern Michigan College.Continued ...
School gets ATM
TBA Credit Union installed an automated teller machine at Traverse City West Senior High School.Continued ...
The Record: 04/11/2014
Assumed names filed in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
Building Permits: 04/11/2014
Building permits issued in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
- Thursday, April 10, 2014
Leelanau Chamber eyes creating foundation
TRAVERSE CITY -- Members of the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce hope to create a related charitable organization to help fill a role left vacant at the county level. Chamber members will soon file to create the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of CoContinued ...
- Renee's House of Quilting helps quilters reap what they sew