Gasoline prices declined for the third straight week and may continue to do so, at least in the short term, a national analyst said.
Meanwhile, the price of U.S. crude oil dropped below $100 per barrel Tuesday for the first time since early May.
Tulsa’s average gas price was $4.328 on Tuesday, down about 10 cents per gallon from $4.426 a week ago, according to AAA Oklahoma.
The price at Tulsa-area QuikTrips was $4.29 per gallon early Tuesday, with some locations at $4.26 later in the evening.
The price drop reflects a national trend, with the average price falling 10.4 cents from a week ago, according to GasBuddy, a fuel price-tracking service.
“As expected, and for the third straight week, average gasoline prices have fallen to their lowest level in over a month,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, in a blog post Tuesday.
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“The price of wholesale gasoline has plummeted, providing price relief as millions of Americans hit the road for the holiday weekend,” he said.
“While we may see prices decline into this week, the drop could fade soon if oil prices reverse, especially with strong demand over the holiday.
“For the time being, Americans are spending nearly $100 million per day less on gasoline than when prices peaked a few weeks ago, and that’s well-needed relief at a time when gas prices remain near records,” De Haan said.
Currently, people in the U.S. are spending about $1.8 billion on gasoline per day, he said.
Prices so far peaked in mid-June nationally as well as in Oklahoma and Tulsa.
The highest average prices in the state and the city were $4.666 and $4.542 per gallon, respectively, both on June 15.
Nationally, wholesale gasoline for August delivery fell Tuesday to $3.33 per gallon from $3.69 a gallon on Friday and down from a high of $4.28 per gallon in mid-June.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil for August delivery fell $8.93 to $99.50 a barrel Tuesday — the first time the price has been under $100 per barrel since early May.
The national average retail price of regular unleaded gasoline on Tuesday was $4.78; the average price in Oklahoma was $4.501, according to GasBuddy and AAA.
The states with the lowest average prices Tuesday were South Carolina ($4.25), Georgia ($4.28) and Mississippi ($4.29). The states with the highest prices were California ($6.21), Hawaii ($5.58), and Alaska ($5.53), according to GasBuddy.
The national average price of diesel has fallen 6.3 cents in the last week and stands at $5.72 per gallon, GasBuddy said.
Average diesel prices in Oklahoma and Tulsa were $5.222 and $5.128, respectively, on Tuesday.
Gasoline inventories are 8% below the five-year average for this time of year, according to GasBuddy. Total supply is 7.6% below a year ago.
GasBuddy said that according to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was down three to 750, which was 275 rigs higher than a year ago.