Gas prices slide despite market pressures

Gas Prices

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Drivers in the United States are seeing the price for retail gasoline slide as area refiners resolve issues and weather threats subside, motor club AAA reports.

AAA reports a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded for Wednesday at $2.19, almost 9 percent less than one year ago. Prices in the days before the Labor Day holiday in the United States turned slightly higher as some energy companies in the Gulf of Mexico suspended work amid uncertainty about the path of what eventually became Hurricane Hermine.

“When it became clear that the storm would not impact production, prices dropped quickly during the second half of last week and through the weekend,” the motor club said in a holiday-delayed weekly retail market report.

Regionally, AAA said western U.S. states, Hawaii and Alaska, had the highest average prices in the country. Prices in the region could move higher in response to issues at Chevron and Tesero refineries in California, though the motor club said the retail side has yet to react.

In the Great Lakes states, the most volatile region in the country, prices have moved sharply lower, with Michigan prices dropping the most of any other state compared with last week.

“Prices rose last month following issues at the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, but with production reported to have returned to normal, prices in the region have moved lower,” the motor club said in its report.

An issue at that same refinery last year caused retail prices in some Great Lakes markets to move above the $3 per gallon mark.

On the market side, the retail price for gasoline in the United States has yet to respond to volatility in crude oil prices, which moved higher by as much as 6 percentMonday.

“Monday evening brought reports that Saudi Arabia and Russia met during the G20summit and signed an oil cooperation agreement signaling an effort to work together in the world oil market,” AAA’s market report read. “The possibility of an agreement briefly caused oil prices to rally, but when it was clear that the two countries did not make a firm commitment to halt production, prices again started to slide.”