Gas prices have begun their post-summer retreat, helped along by recently-reduced tensions in the Middle East, notably over the Syrian chemical weapons crisis. The price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell by four-cents during the past week, according to the latest survey of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The cost of driving fell much more across the Lower Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions, where the average price of gas dipped by twice the national average. Gas prices were also off by almost 9-cents per gallon for Midwestern drivers.
However, the current pricing trend was not the same for drivers across the West Coast and, particularly, motorists in California. In fact, West Coast gas prices were up more than a dime per gallon, largely due to a spike in prices in the Golden State. Minus the California gas price situation, West Coast fuel prices were still up by about two-cents per gallon.
Meanwhile, the cost of driving a rig has finally stabilized a bit, this after several weeks of pricing increases that made life for truckers more expensive. The price of a gallon of diesel fuel slipped by about a penny per gallon across nearly all regions. However, the Rocky Mountain states bore witness to exactly the opposite trend, where the price of a gallon of diesel is up by about a penny. In California, diesel prices were flat to slightly higher.
The EIA has released a statement during the past week which revealed a growing disparity between the price of crude oil and the Standard and Poor’s equity index. The EIA tracks the correlation between Brent Light Sweet Crude and the equity markets as a way to determine whether consumer prices are generally in line with supply and demand. According to the report, the fears of supply disruptions as a result of problems in Syria continued to weigh on the price of oil futures. Real supply problems in Libya are expected to grow through the end of September.
While the fears of a Syrian-caused oil-supply disruption have been assuaged in the wake of a new diplomatic agreement over Syrian chemical weapons, the Libyan oil supply problems are likely to weigh on oil futures prices, according to the EIA. That could drive prices back up toward the end of September, according to the report.
Meanwhile, overall gasoline prices continue to sit well below their 2012 levels. The average price of a gallon of unleaded gas, in the U.S., is about 33¢ below the levels at this time last year. Diesel prices are about 16¢ per gallon less that at this time in 2012.