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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Lockport area gas has fallen just less than one cent, according to AAA East Central’s weekly Fuel Gauge report. The average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline, based on reports from 22 stations in the Lockport area, is 2.702, same from $2.711 last week and $3.711 this time last year. The national average is $2.591.

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 26 consecutive days. This is the longest streak of consecutive declines since January, and pump prices have moved lower by 19 cents per gallon over this period. Today’s average gas price is 89 cents per gallon lower than this same date last year.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the domestic benchmark for crude oil, has reached its lowest price since March 2015, and market fundamentals point to prices moving lower in the near term. Oversupply continues to characterize the oil market, and according to the latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), refinery utilization rates are running at record highs. Pump prices are likely to post notable declines leading up to the Labor Day holiday.

Expectations that the global oil market will remain oversupplied in the near term are keeping downward pressure on the price of crude. The Chinese economy continues to show signs of weakness, which increases concerns that this expected driver of global consumption may not be poised to help counter the market’s oversupply. The global oil market is also paying close attention to the potential for Iranian oil to return to market as early as this fall, as well as high production from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s swing producer.

Domestic focus has shifted to the potential for a glut in gasoline due to strong refinery runs and the potential for demand to drop as the summer-driving season concludes. In addition, U.S. crude oil rig counts have added 32 rigs over the last six weeks. Combined with record refinery runs, it is increasingly likely that excess supply will characterize the domestic market and keep downward pressure on WTI. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down 79 cents at $43.87 per barrel, which was a five-month low.

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