Finally, Summer Driving Gets A Bit Cheaper For Vacation Travelers
The cost of a summer drive finally relaxed a bit during the past week as the price of a gallon of gas retreated just about 4¢, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices took their most significant week-over-week decline since early November, 2013, and this week’s price drops marked the first time all year that retail gas prices have declined significantly for two consecutive weeks.
Prices dropped in nearly every region, but drivers the Rocky Mountain states did not get a price break this week. Both California and the broader West Coast region enjoyed a dip in pricing, while the volatile Midwestern markets enjoyed another week of steep declines that brought prices down, on average, nearly 8¢ per gallon.
Regional Price Averages Impacted By Their Metro City Prices
Once again, individual, larger cities across the Midwest contributed significantly to the regional average’s price declines, which also impacted West Coast averages this week. For instance, the E.I.A. report shows the price of gas dropped by 10¢ in Chicago and by almost 11¢ in Cleveland, pulling the broad Midwestern price averages down. For the West Coast, particularly in California, price declines from Seattle to San Francisco and Los Angeles contributed significantly to the overall regional dip in fuel costs.
Crude Oil Retreats Below $100 As Production And Supply Go Up
The crude oil outlook is finally beginning to favor consumers, with the price of West Texas Intermediate Crude finally trading below $100 per barrel, the first time that has happened since the beginning of May. Prices spiked during June and into early July on overseas supply concerns and a drop at stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma crude storage facility.
However, geopolitical concerns abroad, notably in Iraq and Libya, have begun to ease, and the crude oil supply in the United States is high, despite the lower supplies at Cushing. Many refineries are able to bypass Cushing, Oklahoma, with new pipelines bringing crude stock directly to the refineries, themselves.
In the meantime, oil production in the United States is at its highest level in 28 years, according to a Bloomberg News report, which cited an separate E.I.A. survey that tracks domestic energy output. The E.I.A. report of July 9 showed crude production in the U.S. had hit 8.51 million barrels of oil per day, which is the highest it has been since October, 1986.