— After a nine-day slide, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures settled higher Thursday, but still under $103 per barrel.
The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline decreased to $3.63 per gallon Friday, down three cents from one week ago. Friday’s average is a penny lower than one month ago and 11 cents higher than year ago prices.
Today’s average is the lowest since April 11 and is even with 2011 gas prices for this date.
Violence in Iraq continues to impact global oil prices, but as production in the south of the country remains unaffected, the fear of a disruption to supply has abated.
Market watchers are keeping a close eye on the situation, but the risk premium that had pushed oil prices to 2014 highs has subsided in recent trading sessions.
These elevated oil prices have meant stubbornly high pump prices for motorists, robbing them of the usual price break at the gas pump between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
All that is in the rear-view mirror now, as oil prices have eased retail gas prices have finally started to follow suit.
Crude oil prices dropped below $104 per barrel this week after nearly a month of trading within the $104 to $107 per barrel range.
The commodity closed slightly higher for the week at $102.93 per barrel on Thursday.
As of Friday late afternoon, WTI crude oil was trading lower at under $101 per barrel.
The Energy Information Administration stated in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil stocks dropped 2.4 million barrels to 382.6 million barrels.
Gasoline stocks increased by .6 million barrels to 214.3 million barrels.
Gasoline demand dropped 233,000 barrels per day to 8.935 million bpd last week and falls slightly short of a year ago.
The current four-week average is also slightly behind of the same four weeks in 2013.
“Elevated oil prices have meant stubbornly high pump prices for motorists, robbing them of the usual price break at the gas pump between Memorial Day and July Fourth,” said Christine Sarames Delise, Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic.