Crude oil prices are expected to continue their short-term decline on signs the U.S. economy is starting to level off, the Bloomberg News agency reports. Prices for West Texas Intermediate crude, a U.S. blend, have declined 5.4 percent from their seasonal high of $97.94 per barrel reported in January.
Those prices are reflected in the price per gallon of unleaded regular gasoline. Motor group AAA reports that U.S. commuters paid, on average, $3.59 per gallon Monday. That's down 4 cents from last week and 34 cents less than the same period last year.
Lundberg Survey Inc. reviewed data from 2,500 retail gasoline stations and found average gasoline prices in the United States declined more than six cents in the past two weeks.
"Refiners are passing through the lower oil prices that they have been paying in the form of lower gasoline prices," Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, told Bloomberg. "Even if crude oil prices don't decline much from here, we could see some further down drift in gasoline as retailers give up some of their margin."
U.S. consumers this year paid more than $4 per gallon following refinery issues brought on by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and because of higher oil prices on the global market.