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U.S. gas prices relatively low and stable

Tuesday marks the 10th straight day for a decline for retail gasoline prices.

By Daniel J. Graeber
U.S. gas prices relatively low and stable
Supply and demand in relative balance for retail gasoline, meaning U.S. commuters can expect some of the lowest prices at the pump in years. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- With short-term supply disruptions easing, U.S. commuters this summer can expect some of the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, AAA said.

The motor club reports a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $2.33 for Tuesday, about 2 percent lower than last week. Tuesday marks the 10th consecutive day for declines in retail gasoline prices.

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Prices spiked from May because of oil supply disruptions brought on by wildfires in Canada, the top oil exporter to the United States. Retail markets in the Midwest, meanwhile, are skewing the national average higher because of a series of pipeline and refinery issues.

Michigan, which is the fifth most expensive market in the country, extended an energy emergency to mid July because of refinery and pipeline issues. Three of the Great Lakes states, including Michigan, are ranked among the 10 most expensive markets in the country.

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On the whole, AAA reports gasoline prices tend to spike during summer months because of travel plans by vacationers. Higher demand from those travelers usually puts strains on supply, though the motor club said in its weekly retail market report that refineries were more or less keeping up.

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"Unlike many recent years, supply appears to be meeting the growing demand and as a result prices have held relatively steady and markedly lower than one year ago," the report read.

Summer gasoline prices, AAA said, should be at or near their lowest level since 2005. A short-term market report from the federal Energy Information Administration forecasts a 2016 average price at $2.13 per gallon, the least expensive in years.

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With Canadian oil out of the wildfire threat, the supply-side pressures have eased and, despite concerns about British membership in the European Union, markets have been volatile, but steady over the mid-term. Crude oil prices are up about 1.7 percent since June 1, even with a 4 percent rally in prices last week.

South Carolina had the lowest state average price at the pump at $2.03 per gallon.

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