Outside factors could disrupt upcoming drop in US gasoline prices

04 September 2013 18:44  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US national average price for regular unleaded gasoline at the pump is at $3.59/gal, higher than last week, but 23 cents/gal lower than this same day last year, AAA said in its Fuel Gauge Report made available on Wednesday.

The summer driving season came to a close on 3 September, and the 2013 summer gasoline price average was the third highest on record at $3.58/gal.

In 2012, the national average was higher at the beginning and end of summer, but retail prices sagged during the middle of summer, resulting in a lower summer average than in 2013.

Typically, motorists would see prices declining as soon as demand weakens and refiners produce cheaper, winter-blend gasolines, which takes place on 15 September.

But geopolitical concerns have been weighing heavily on crude oil trading, which could upset the transition to cheaper gasoline prices.

“Gasoline prices usually drop with the end of the summer driving season, but it is impossible to say whether this will be a typical year given the potential risks facing the market,” said AAA spokesperson Avery Ash. “Escalating tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, possible US action in Syria or a major hurricane could make it more expensive to buy gas, while a relatively calm month should send prices much lower. It is too soon to know how these factors might affect motorists in the coming weeks.”

According to AAA, for the first time in more than 10 years there has been no Atlantic hurricane through the end of August and it is possible that this year may mark the latest date in the satellite era for a first hurricane to form.

While this year does mark a historically late start to the hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continues to forecast a more active season, which extends through November.

Current average

Week-ago average

Month-ago average

Year-ago average

$3.59

$3.55

$3.61

$3.82

Prices are the US average per gallon of regular unleaded retail gasoline

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By: Anna Matherne
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