Very little relief in sight on gasoline prices
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California fell by another 5 cents over the last week, to $3.591, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. But the refrain remains the same: Americans are continuing to pay record high prices for this time of year.
A year ago, Californians were paying an average of $3.253 a gallon. The state's current average is also above the old record for this day of the year, which was $3.328 a gallon in 2007.
Nationally, the story was the same. The U.S. average was down 0.2 cents over the last week, to $3.274, the AAA said, but the price a year ago was $2.974 a gallon. The current price also tops the old record for Dec. 12, which was $2.99 a gallon in 2007.
In other energy news, oil prices fell slightly as OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, opened a new round of talks in Vienna on production quotas.
The U.S. benchmark for commodities trading, West Texas Intermediate crude, lost $1.34 during trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The European standard, Brent North Sea crude, dropped $1.20 to $107.27 on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.
"We continue to see volatility" in oil prices," said Patrick DeHaan, senior energy analyst for GasBuddy.com. "One day it's great economic news, then Europe derails the train that pushed oil prices higher and they come back down."
-- Ronald D. White
Photo: Customers pump gasoline at a Costco gas station in Winter Park, Fla. Despite recent declines, gas prices across the nation are still higher than they have been in the month of December. Credit: John Raoux / Associated Press