The national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline
hit $2.723 Friday, one penny more than a week ago and about 2 cents
more than a month ago, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil
Price Information Service. It's nearly a quarter higher than it was
a year ago.
The highest gas prices, averaging from $2.853 to $3.492, are mostly
in the West, while the lowest prices, from $2.475 to $2.578, can be
found in Texas, the South and parts of the Midwest.
In Bloomington-Normal, the average price for a gallon of regular
unleaded early Friday was $2.770. That's up from $2.734 Thursday and
$2.659 last week, according to AAA's online Daily Fuel Gauge.
Most experts believe pump prices will remain fairly steady until
Labor Day. Consumers won't spend much on travel while they're
worried about losing their jobs. And the sluggish economic recovery
is suppressing oil prices.
"It seems that every other day there's different data that comes out
that suggests that the economy is picking up or the economy's not
picking up," said Fred Rozell, retail pricing director at Oil Price
Information Service. "There's no real consensus. It's kind of
confused out there, and I think that's both the stock market and the
futures market for energy."
The Consumer Price Index, a government inflation barometer, showed
energy prices fell 2.9 percent in June for the second straight
month. Gasoline prices led the decline with a 4.5 percent drop.
Prices for electricity and fuel oil also fell.
economic news arrived Friday as a twice-monthly survey from the
University of Michigan and Reuters found that consumer gloom is
increasing. An index of consumer sentiment compiled from the survey
fell to 66.5 in early July from 76.
And Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America worried investors by
reporting declines in trading revenue that raised questions about
how banks will be able to make big profits if trading is curtailed
by new federal regulations.
[to top of second column]
"Oil remains attached to equities for now, and as a result, economic
guidance should continue to rule," Ritterbusch and Associates said
in a report.
Benchmark crude for August delivery settled down 61 cents at $76.01
a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in reaction to the
Heating oil lost 0.7 cent to $2.0113 a gallon, gasoline fell 1.21
cents to $2.0486 a gallon, and natural gas fell 6.7 cents to $4.519
per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude fell 16 cents to $75.37 a barrel on the ICE
By SANDY SHORE, AP business writer]
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or