Gas prices rise for 50th straight day
NEW YORK (AP) ó Retail gas prices climbed for the 50th straight day Wednesday, the longest streak in records dating to 1996, even as benchmark crude fell for the fourth day in a row.
Pump prices added a half cent overnight to a new national average of $2.679 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. A gallon of regular gas has jumped nearly 37 cents in a month. That’s still cheaper than a gallon of gas three years ago at this point in June.
Historically, filling station prices tend to rise during the summer as millions of vacationing Americans pour onto the highways. A surge in crude prices during the past few months and less production from the refiners that make gasoline has added even more pressure on prices.
On Wednesday, crude oil dropped below $70 a barrel ahead of a key government report on petroleum supplies and consumption in the United States.
Benchmark crude for July delivery fell 92 cents to $69.55 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent prices fell 71 cents to $69.53 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
The Energy Information Administration is expected to show a 1.7 million-barrel drop in crude oil reserves for the week ended June 12, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Platts also expects gasoline stockpiles to fall by 650,000 barrels.
Oil prices this week have come off eight-month highs near $73 a barrel amid some signs that the U.S. economy, while past the worst of a severe recession, is still weak. Crude prices have dropped with equities markets this week, and they continued to fall Wednesday though the dollar was week.
Because barrels are priced in U.S. currency, oil tends to rise when the dollar falls.
In other Nymex trading, gasoline for July delivery fell 4.15 cents to $2.0296 a gallon and heating oil dropped 1.35 cents to $1.8115. Natural gas for July delivery added 2.1 cents to $4.150 per 1,000 cubic feet.