By DAN MURTAUGH and JESSICA SUMMERS
US refineries are flexing their muscles and helping lower
gasoline prices in the middle of the peak driving season.
The average price for regular gasoline at US pumps dropped
9.04 cents in the two weeks ended July 25 to $3.5795/gal,
according to Lundberg Survey. Its based on information
obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo,
California-based company. Prices are 9.51 cents lower than a
year ago and are at the lowest level since March 21, the
Retail prices declined as refineries processed the most
petroleum in government records dating back to 1989 in the
week ended July 11. Plants in the Midwest exceeded their
nameplate capacity during that week.
Its really a mid-summer gift, Trilby
Lundberg, the president of Lundberg Survey, said in a
telephone interview on July 27. Refiners have been on a
kick to run more crude, run at high rates and to cut
The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 states among
the markets surveyed was in San Francisco, at $4.03/gal,
Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where
customers paid an average of $3.23. Regular gasoline averaged
$3.83 on Long Island, New York, and $3.96 in Los Angeles.
Refineries processed 16.81 million bpd in the week ended July
18, just off the highs reached the prior week, Energy
Information Administration data show.
Plants are taking advantage of the US shale boom, which has
raised oil production 65% in the past five years. The
increased output has pushed the settlement price of US
benchmark West Texas Intermediate futures below Europe
an Brent every day since
Aug. 17, 2010.
Gasoline futures on the Nymex slipped 4.32 cents, or 1.5%, to
$2.8653/gal in the two weeks ended July 25 as supplies grew
on strong refinery
Gasoline stockpiles increased 3.38 million bbl to 217.9
million, EIA data show. Demand over the four weeks ended July
18 was 8.988 million bpd, 0.6% below a year earlier.
WTI crude rose $1.26, or 1.2%, to $102.09/bbl on the New York
Mercantile Exchange in the two weeks to July 25 as supplies
at the delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell to the
lowest level since 2008.
Crude inventories in the US fell for the fourth straight
week, dropping 3.97 million bbl to 371.1 million in the seven
days ended July 18, according to the Energy Information
Administration, the Energy Departments statistical arm.