Some parts of the U.S. may see a slight bump in prices over the Fourth of July… (Ralph Francello, Associated…)
The average retail cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in California dropped to its lowest level since February and the national average fell to its lowest point since January, the Energy Department said, as pump prices continued to adjust to lower oil prices.
Some parts of the country may see a slight bump in prices over the Fourth of July holiday, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, a fuel price-tracking website.
"One thing is for sure," DeHaan said about the national average. "The yellow brick road won't be leading us to cheaper pumps for much longer, something many Americans will undoubtedly tie to the upcoming holiday."
But California is different, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service.
"California still has some catching up to do in terms of fuel price drops," Kloza said. "Gasoline prices there are still considerably too high and they should continue to drop."
Kloza predicted summer gasoline prices of $3.25 to $3.50 in the coming weeks, with California at the high end of that range.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California fell 11.4 cents to $3.773, according to the Energy Department's weekly survey released Monday. That was the state's lowest average since Feb. 6, when the price was $3.758 a gallon. The state's average is 2.1 cents a gallon lower than it was at this time last year.
The U.S. average fell 8.1 cents over the last week to $3.356 a gallon. That was the lowest since Jan. 2, when the national average was $3.299 a gallon. The U.S. average is 22.3 cents a gallon lower than it was a year earlier.
In other energy news, benchmark crude oil prices gave back some of last Friday's gains in commodities trading Monday. U.S. oil fell $1.21 to $83.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, European benchmark prices fell 46 cents to $97.34 a barrel. For much of the year, U.S. oil prices have been above $100 a barrel and the London price has been above $115 a barrel.