Gas Prices Poised To Slide Below $3.00

Prices Continue Their Autumn Fall

Gas price trends for week of October 27, 2014The nationwide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded fell to $3.06 during the past week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That figure is down six cents from the previous week. As with all weekly surveys, this week’s E.I.A. report shows some regions enjoyed a larger decline, particularly the West Coast, where prices fell 10¢ per gallon to settle at a regional average of $3.32. The cheapest regional prices were found across the Gulf Coast region, once again, where the average retail cost for gas is now only $2.83 per gallon.

Part of the reason for the decline in prices is the high output of U.S. shale production and a slowing global demand. The price of crude oil futures, particularly West Texas Intermediate, has fallen dramatically since its summer highs. Price have been trading in a narrow range for days, flirting with the potential of falling below the $80 per barrel threshold.

Year Over Year, Gas Is Significantly Cheaper

That has been good news for drivers. The cost of gas has fallen so much in the past several weeks, the cost of fuel is now anywhere from 17¢ to 30¢ per gallon cheaper than at this time last year, depending on the survey region. That good news extends to truckers, too, who are also paying substantially less this year for diesel fuel.

Overall, the price of diesel has not fallen as dramatically as gas prices in recent weeks; however, the year-over-year price difference of diesel fuels is identical to the price of gasoline. For both types of fuel, the U.S. average price is 24¢ cheaper than 2013’s rate.

There are indications retail prices could push even lower, especially if crude oil prices continue their free-fall. In fact, overseas crude oil prices, which have also fallen substantially, may not have the power to reverse course with the same gusto as in previous years. The reason is a decline in the pricing power member nations of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The reason comes back to U.S. shale production, according to Jeff Currie of Goldman Sachs. Mr. Currie made his comments on CNBC, telling reporters that the United States has more power to influence price swings.

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Gas Prices In Free Fall As Crude Finally Levels Off

Gas Prices Fall Below $3.00 In Many Areas

Gas price trends for the week of October 20, 2014The nation’s average per-gallon gas price dropped 9-cents for the second consecutive week, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The E.I.A. report shows the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is now only $3.12, down 59¢ per gallon since prices peaked just before the start of summer. Based on a 15-gallon tank, the average U.S. driver is now paying almost $9.00 less per fill-up than six months ago.

In some regions of the U.S., the average price for that survey district is now less than $3.00 per gallon, such as the Gulf Coast, where prices are now, officially, averaging about $2.91 per gallon. Even on the West Coast, where prices were regularly north of the $4.00 mark during summer, the price of a gallon of gas has finally fallen below $3.50. In fact, the West Coast average gas price plunged over 11¢ during the past week to settle at $3.42.

Crude Oil Leveling Off, But Drivers Still Benefit From Previous Declines

Part of the reason for the dramatic drop in gas prices has been the market response to driver demand and the glut of oil in the United States. Shale oil production pushed U.S. domestic crude prices ever lower, even as demand around the world began to fall on a slowing economy. Then the end of the summer driving season hit, sending crude prices down to trade under $80 per barrel. While prices have rebounded this week, West Texas Intermediate, the domestic crude benchmark, is trading between $83 and $84 per barrel. That is down over $20 per barrel from WTI’s early-summer high. Prices began declining in the last days of June, but the plummet only happened in the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the benefit for drivers has been most noticeable. Even drivers in the Midwestern United States, where price volatility plagued the summer driving season, prices have continued to fall at an ever-increasing pace. However, Ohio still suffers under the lash of retail price swings, as evidenced by a 6¢ per gallon price increase in the past week. Nonetheless, most drivers across the midwest are paying an average of only $3.03 per gallon. In Minnesota, however, the average price for all formulations of regular unleaded gas are down to $2.95 per gallon.

Urban Gas Prices Still Significantly Higher Than Highway And Rural Stations

While gas prices continue to decline in nearly all areas of the United States, city drivers are finding that retail prices remain higher in the city than in rural areas and at gas stations along turnpikes and interstate highways. Part of the reason is the lack of real estate for competition stations in inner city areas, but the pricing disparity can often be quite dramatic, almost as if to make a demonstration of market influences of supply and demand. What is more, the pricing differential does not appear confined to a single region.

For instance, during the peak summer driving season, when prices were at their highest, the cost of unleaded in inner-city Chicago was $4.28 per gallon at a BP station inside the loop, on Congress Avenue. However, just outside the city, at the Hinsdale Service Plaza on the Tri-State Tollway, the price of gas was only $3.97.

In Florida, where tourist travel brings out-of-state drivers in high volume during summer and winter, the price differential between inner-city and suburban areas is equally dramatic. Prices in Oakland Park, Florida, adjacent to Fort Lauderdale, were only $3.25 on October 12. Four days later, in nearby Fort Lauderdale, spotters for TurnpikeInfo.com found prices were still $3.49 per gallon. According to the E.I.A., Florida’s average gas price on October 20 was calculated at $3.09 per gallon.

Pictures Of Urban Versus Suburban Gas Prices

July 1, 2014: Gas prices inside The Loop in Chicago.

July 1, 2014: Gas prices inside The Loop in Chicago. Prices at this station on Congress Avenue were 32¢ higher than some areas of suburban Chicago.

July 4, 2014: Gas prices at the Hinsdale Service Plaza of the Tri-State Tollway.

July 4, 2014: Gas prices at the Hinsdale Service Plaza of the Tri-State Tollway, just outside Chicago. Prices at this station were 32¢ less than nearby, inner-city Chicago stations.

October 12, 2014: Gas prices at an Oakland Park, Florida station.

October 12, 2014: Gas prices at this Oakland Park, Florida station were 24¢ cheaper than inner city stations only a few miles away.

October 16, 2014: Gas prices in Fort Lauderdale, on busy Sunrise Boulevard, which connects to Florida's Turnpike.

October 16, 2014: Gas prices in Fort Lauderdale, on busy Sunrise Boulevard, which connects to Florida’s Turnpike. Prices at this Shell station were 24¢ higher than another Shell station only three miles away, in Oakland Park.

Truckers Catching Big Break As Diesel Prices Slip Downward

Meanwhile, the suburban and rural gas pricing is likely an issue that favors the nation’s truckers, who are usually between cities on long hauls. The E.I.A. survey shows the price of diesel fuel declined 4¢ per gallon during the past week to $3.66, although prices remain close to the $4.00 mark across the West Coast, particularly California.

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As Crude Oil Tanks, Retail Gas Prices Fall Through The Floor

Lowest Crude Prices In Nearly 30 Months Brings Relief To Drivers

Gas price trend for week of October 13, 2014The price of a gallon of gas hit a new low for the season as the national average cost fell to only $3.21, according to the latest weekly survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA report shows gas prices at the national level fell more than 9¢ per gallon over the past week, although some regions experienced a larger decline. For the Gulf Coast region, prices have fallen so low that some stations are selling fuel for less than $3.00 per gallon.

Region by region, the news for drivers is very good. Even on the West Coast, where prices are traditionally the highest in the country, the price of regular unleaded has fallen to $3.54 per gallon, and while that number is much higher than other survey regions, it is more than 50¢ per gallon less than the peak price, which was recorded at $4.07 per gallon in the April 28, 2014 survey. For most drivers across the U.S., the price of gas ranges between $3.20 and $3.35 per gallon.

Gas station in Pflugerville, Texas

Gas prices at this station north of Austin, Texas, underscore just how much retail prices have fallen since the summer peak. Photo: Kristen Scallion.

The declining cost of retail gas is due to a decline in global demand, a slowdown in U.S. demand with the end of summer driving, and higher shale oil production in the U.S. These factors, among others, have pushed domestic crude oil prices to their lowest levels since the end of June 2012; West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was flirting with the $80 per barrel level early Tuesday, down about $25 per barrel from the summer peak. Overseas, Brent Light Sweet Crude is also at a low point. In fact, the spread between Brent and WTI was less than $3 dollars Tuesday. The difference between the two benchmark futures indices has been much greater in recent years, sometimes more than $25 per barrel, according to MarketRealist.com.

Urban Gas Prices Higher Than Regional Levels

While all drivers are catching a price break at the pump, drivers in many cities are not getting quite the break their rural counterparts are enjoying. Overall, prices in urban areas are down, but drivers typically pay as much as 35¢ per gallon more at some city gas stations than they would if they drove just a few miles out of town. For instance, prices in the Lower Atlantic states are current averaging $3.15 per gallon, but prices in the urban core of Fort Lauderdale, the home of Turnpike Information Company, are as high as $3.49 per gallon. In adjacent Oakland Park, Florida, which shares a border with its larger neighbor, prices are only $3.25 per gallon for regular unleaded, a 24¢ difference.

Truckers Getting A Price Break, But Not As Dramatic

The price of diesel fuel is coming down, but not as quickly as the cost of gasoline. The price of retail diesel fell by about 4¢ per gallon during the past week, brining the national average price of diesel down to $3.70. Prices fell the most across the West Coast and the Central Atlantic states. California has the most expensive diesel in the U.S., with prices still near $4.00 per gallon; the Midwest and Gulf Coast regions have the lowest diesel prices at the moment, with averages in each region currently at $3.64 per gallon.

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Gas Prices Move Down After Staying Flat For A Week

Prices Drop Substantially With Crude Oil As Inventories Increase

Gas price trend for week of October 6, 2014An increase in domestic crude oil inventories, lower consumer demand and a slowing global economy all have contributed to a new slate of drops in crude oil prices, this as the September declines in crude are now beginning to be noticed at the pump. The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular unleaded fell a nickel last week, bringing the price of gas to $3.30, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Last week, prices at the national level were largely unchanged, according to the survey.

Prices at the retail level have been following declines in crude oil futures. West Texas Intermediate, the domestic crude, is down more than $15 from its summer high. It was trading just under $89 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange midday Tuesday. The overseas crude benchmark, Brent Light Sweet Crude, is trading under $93 per barrel, a price point more common for WTI.

Part of the reason for the decline is a rise in domestic crude inventories. A Bloomberg survey last week found stocks had increase by 2-million barrels, adding inventory amid a slowdown in consumer demand. What is more, the International Monetary Fund announced Tuesday it had reduced its global growth forecast for 2015.

Regional Volatility Adds To District And Nationwide Price Movement

This week’s gas price plunge was much larger for the Midwest Region, which is known to have greater pricing volatility than other survey districts. Prices from Wisconsin to Ohio dropped an average of 10-cents per gallon during the past week, with cities like Chicago and Cleveland enjoying average declines of 9¢ and 10¢, respectively. The Lower Atlantic states had the lowest price decline of all the regions, at just one penny per gallon.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Coast continues to enjoy the lowest prices in the nation. With the cost of gas dipping about a nickel per gallon in most spots, the average price from Texas to Alabama is about $3.11 per gallon. The West Coast remains the most expensive place to gas up, with average prices for regular unleaded gas going for about $3.61.

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Price Of Gas Plunges For Third Consecutive Week

Gas Price Declines Nearing Three Month Mark

Gas price trends for week of September 22, 2014The average price of gas in the U.S. dropped over 5¢ per gallon last week, virtually repeating the price drop from the previous week. That brings the overall decline in gas prices over the past 14 days to 11¢. Currently, the average gas price is $3.35 per gallon, according to the latest survey from the Energy Information Administration.

Except for an interruption in price declines the week of September 1, the current run of gas-price declines is nearly three months long. The average price of fuel for U.S. has plunged by 35¢ per gallon since the beginning of July, when prices were at their summer peak of $3.70 per gallon.

For drivers across the U.S., regional gas prices fell virtually in lockstep with the previous week’s declines. The Midwest, for instance, experienced a second week of price dips of 8¢ per gallon. The average price of gas across the nation’s mid-section is now $3.28 per gallon, making the third U.S. region to have gas prices break below the $3.30 mark. The Lower Atlantic states eased through that barrier last week with prices at $3.29 per gallon. This week, drivers in the Lower Atlantic states are paying an average of $3.26 per gallon, although prices in many urban centers are much higher. Meanwhile, the low spot for gasoline in the U.S. remains the Gulf Coast, where prices dropped to $3.13 per gallon this week.

Gas Prices Following Crude Futures

The cost of gas has been following the downward trend in crude oil prices. West Texas Intermediate, the domestic crude benchmark, was trading near $105 per barrel in mid-summer. Currently, WTI is trading just under $92 per barrel, and intraday trades have flirted with the $90 mark a number of times during the past week. Brent Light Sweet Crude, the overseas benchmark, was trading near $113 per barrel as recently as three months ago. Brent was trading just under $97 per barrel at 1 p.m. Tuesday, the lowest the futures index has been in the past 15 months.

Truckers Enjoying Break At The Pump

The good news for drivers of regular cars extends to drivers of America’s tractor-trailer rigs. Truckers are paying less for diesel this week than last, with the average price of a gallon of diesel down to $3.78 per gallon. As with last week, the year-over-year prices are off more than 17¢ per gallon.

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Gas Prices Begin Autumn Tumble

Cost Of Driving Plunges As Summer Comes To End

Gas price trend for September 15, 2014The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline took a sizable drop during the past week, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The latest E.I.A. fuel price survey shows the nationwide average for a gallon of regular unleaded is down to $3.41, a week-over-week drop of more than 5¢ per gallon.

Some regions enjoyed a more substantial price dip. For instance, Midwestern drivers found their average cost of gas was down by about 8¢ per gallon to $3.36. For drivers along the Gulf Coast, this week’s price drop pushed the cost of a gallon of gas below the $3.20 mark for the first time since February 17. The nation’s most expensive region continues to be the West Coast, where gas prices remain stubbornly high. The average driver along the Pacific rim is paying about $3.74 per gallon, but that is well below the peak prices suffered in the heat of summer, when the cost of gas was regularly above $4.00.

Truckers Also Catch Price Break At The Pump

Truckers are experiencing a noticeable decline in prices, too. The last official week of summer begins with the average price of diesel at $3.80 per gallon. That is down from last week and off more than 17¢ compared to the same period a year ago. Truckers along the West Coast are, like their gas-powered counterparts, paying the most for fuel. Diesel is currently averaging $4.01 per gallon on the West Coast. The least expensive region is the Gulf Coast, where diesel averages $3.71 per gallon.

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Gas Prices Hold Steady, Although Some Drivers Enjoying Price Drops

National Average Remains $3.46, But West Coast Gets Slight Break

Gas price trends for the week of September 8, 2014The price of a gallon of regular unleaded remained the same during the past week, at least when viewed at the national level. Regional prices were down for some, particularly on the West Coast of the United States, but the national average remained at $3.46 per gallon, according to the latest price survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

This week’s E.I.A. report shows the cost of fuel barely moved for drivers east of the Rocky Mountain states, although there was about a penny decline in prices for drivers in the Lower Atlantic states, the only region in the east that enjoyed a decline of any significance.

Prices at this Austin-area gas station are higher than their Gulf Region counterparts, but gas prices at this station have been the same for a couple weeks. For others in the region, gas prices went up slightly, although the Gulf Coast still remains the cheapest place to buy gas.

Prices at this Austin-area gas station are higher than their Gulf Region counterparts, but gas prices at this station have been the same for a couple weeks. For others in the region, gas prices went up slightly, although the Gulf Coast still remains the cheapest place to buy gas. Photo: Kristen Scallion.

For drivers across the Midwest and the Gulf Coast, the cost of gas slipped up about a penny. The average along the Gulf Coast is still about $3.22, however, because price changes are measured to the thousandths of a dollar before being rounded to the nearest penny. Gulf Coast gas prices remain the lowest in the nation.

Truckers May See Diesel Prices Notch Upward

The cost of a gallon of diesel did not budge in this week’s survey, at least at the national level. Diesel remained priced at $3.81 per gallon, although prices in six of the eight major survey areas shows prices beginning to move upward. The cost of diesel had been coming down for the past several weeks, albeit slowly. This week’s survey is the first time diesel prices have notched up for so many regions since the end of June, when the national average was about 11¢ per gallon higher.

Crude Oil Prices Still Falling But May Reverse

Crude oil prices, which had peaked at the end of June, have continued to decline dramatically in the past eight weeks; however, prices have notched up on two separate occasions in the past week. Even so, West Texas Intermediate, the domestic oil future, was trading down again Tuesday to it’s lowest levels since January. Bloomberg News was citing an ample supply of overseas oil as contributing to speculation there would be weaker demand for U.S. oil, pushing prices down. Bloomberg cited the current selloff of Brent Light Sweet Crude, along with other E.I.A. reports, in its own assessment.

Meanwhile, the U.S. crude oil inventory report is due Wednesday, which Bloomberg reports is likely to show inventories shrank during the past week. Recent speculation about domestic inventories is the reason WTI has popped twice in the past week, and at least one investor quoted by Bloomberg said WTI will likely remain strong against Brent, particularly in the wake of some pipeline issues that are restricting the movement of crude oil supplies to storage and refinery destinations.

That has the potential to at least prevent U.S. gas prices from going down significantly over the next couple of weeks. Current futures contracts are for October delivery.

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Gas Prices Level Off Nationally, But Many Regions Enjoy Drop In Prices

West Coast and Gulf Coast Lead Price Declines

Gas price trends for the week of September 1, 2014The cost of a gallon of regular unleaded ticked up slightly at the national level during the past week, according to the latest weekly fuel survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The E.I.A. report shows the national average cost of a gallon of gas notched up from $3.45 last week to $3.46 this week. However, many regions enjoyed noticeable price declines, even as the national average gas price edged upward.

On the West Coast, where prices have spent a good portion of the year above $4.00, the average price of gas is now $3.80, down nearly three cents since last week’s survey. The Gulf Coast also enjoyed a measurable drop in prices; the average price of gas from Texas to the Florida panhandle is now $3.22, the lowest in the nation.

Volatile Midwest Gets Hit With Cost Surge

While many of the nation’s drivers enjoyed a dip in gas prices, drivers across the Midwest watched prices surge nearly 4¢ per gallon. The price hikes across the nation’s mid-section were lead by a steep increase in average prices for Ohio drivers. The Buckeye State’s average per-gallon gas price is now $3.55, up sharply from $3.42 only a week ago. Illinois also suffered a stiff price increase, but not as sharp as Ohio. Nonetheless, drivers in the Chicago area are paying 9¢ per gallon more for gas this week than last. The average price in Chicago is $3.68 per gallon, up from $3.59 last week.

Truckers Getting A Break On Diesel Prices

The price of diesel is holding steady or declining for truckers across the United States. The weekly E.I.A. survey shows the average price of a gallon of diesel, nationally, is $3.81, down from $3.82 last week. The region with the lowest price is, like regular gas, the Gulf Coast. The average diesel price across the Gulf is $3.72.

The region with the highest price is the West Coast, where prices went up about a two cents per gallon last week, although California diesel prices actually went down. Take the Golden State out of the equation, and West Coast prices actually went up by more than a nickel per gallon. All told the West Coast average is about $4.03 per gallon.

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Gas Prices Continue Their Summer-Ending Free Fall

Prices Settle At Eight-Month Low Amid Falling Demand

Gas price trend for week of August 25, 2014The price of gas continued its consistent, summer-long decline during the past week, according to the latest fuel price survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The national average cost of gas dropped to an eight-month low last week, with regular unleaded settling in at $3.45 per gallon. The last time prices were this low was during the survey period of February 24, 2014, when a gallon of regular unleaded was at $3.44.

Prices have fallen significantly since the start of July, when the cost of gas was $3.70 nationally, and much higher in some survey regions, including the West Coast. The price of fuel began dropping in May, although it reversed course through most of June, greeting drivers with elevated gas prices just as the summer driving season gained momentum.

Combination Of Factors Helps Drivers Pay Less

A peculiar combination recent events has helped push the price of gasoline down, but only in the past few weeks. Until the start of July, consumers had faced a near-relentless spate of weekly price increases.

However, new U.S. crude oil output, crude stock supply data and a tempered outlook regarding geopolitical risks have all taken their toll on wholesale gas and crude oil in recent weeks. West Texas Intermediate, the domestic crude futures index, traded $105 per barrel at the end of June, only to begin a decline through July, ending the month in a dramatic selloff. Prices have continued to fall through August, and WTI is now trading under $94 per barrel.

The strange juxtaposition of influences has resulted in good news for drivers, who were supposed to enjoy gas prices in the $3.50 range through most of the summer. The E.I.A. had forecast that price point as recently as the beginning of 2014, but it quickly became apparent, by the end of February, that the price of gasoline was not going to remain reasonably low through the year. The end of February was the last time prices were as low as they are currently.

Regional Prices Differer Dramatically

The range of gas prices from one region to another is quite dramatic. Once again, the cheap spot for gas is the Gulf Coast region, where prices are down to $3.24 per gallon for regular unleaded. The West Coast, the dubious leader in the gas price survey, was presenting drivers with gas costing $3.83 per gallon.

The Midwest, consistently an inconsistent region where gas prices are concerned, had prices that barely moved or were just higher during the past week. The regional average remained at $3.40 per gallon this week.

Prices on the East Coast ranged from $3.54 in the New England States to $3.32 in the Lower Atlantic states.

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Gas Prices Take Another Dip As Kids Head Back To School

Gas price trend for August 18, 2014End Of Summer Driving Contributes To Price Drops

Lower demand for gas at the end of the summer driving season is helping drive the price of gas lower as we move deeper into August. The weekly gas price survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the price of a gallon of regular unleaded dipped just over three cents per gallon last week, pushing the average cost for retail gas to only $3.47. That is the first time since the beginning of March that the national average price has been under the $3.50 mark. The nationwide average from the March 3, 2014 survey showed fuel at $3.48 per gallon, a penny higher than this week’s average.

Paying a premium toll: Prices at a Wag-a-Bag station near Capital of Texas Highway and Westlake Drive in Austin on August 7, 2014. Prices at stations adjacent to or on toll roads are typically higher than their regional averages.

Paying a toll: Prices at a Wag-a-Bag station near Capital of Texas Highway and Westlake Drive in Austin on August 7, 2014. Prices at stations adjacent to or on toll roads are typically higher than their regional averages. Photo: Kristen Scallion.

Prices dropped in all regions, except for the Rocky Mountain states, where prices have been holding steady or moving upward slightly. In the Midwest, which was hit with a substantial increase last week, prices fell by nearly six cents, which was largest weekly decline of all the regions surveyed. The Gulf Coast region remains the cheapest place to get gas. The price of a gallon of unleaded registered at just $3.26 in this week’s E.I.A. survey.

Diesel Fuel Prices Continuing To Trickle Lower

For truckers, the news is not quite as dramatic, in terms of weekly of the weekly price comparison. The average cost of a gallon of diesel, at the national level, is $3.84, although many truckers are paying well more than $4.00 per gallon along the West Coast, particularly in California. However, the price of diesel has been steadily declining through most of the summer, and average prices this week are at the lowest levels they have been since a week before the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday.

Crude Oil Prices Remain Below $100 Per Barrel

West Texas Intermediate crude continues to trade under $100 per barrel. Prices closed Monday at $96.41 per barrel for September delivery, on the the New York Mercantile Exchange. However, prices started out slightly higher in early trading Tuesday. Meanwhile, Brent Light Sweet crude, the overseas benchmark, was going for about $102 per barrel, but that price point is the lowest Brent has been in 14 months. Both futures indices tumbled two weeks ago amid reports that the U.S. continues to produce enough oil to offset supply issues in other areas where geopolitics have been getting in the way of production. Additionally, a fire at a U.S. refinery on July 29 also triggered a futures selloff.

However, short-term speculation is pushing WTI higher in advance of two reports this week that will detail consumer demand and the current fuel supply. With refineries operating at a slightly reduced capacity, many investment analysts are projecting WTI will rebound further, but none is predicting it will go over $100 per barrel again. Bloomberg.com quotes Michael McCarthy, the Chief Strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, Australia, who predicts many investors will start selling off contracts if WTI moves to about $98.50 per barrel. Such a selloff would stop the September delivery contract from pushing higher.

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