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Gas prices steady after OPEC deal

Crude oil prices at one point spiked 10 percent Wednesday, but consumers spared so far.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Gas prices steady after OPEC deal
So far so good for retail gasoline prices in the United States, one day after an OPEC agreement sent crude oil prices soaring. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. national average price for a gallon of gas barely moved the day after one of the biggest rallies ever in crude oil prices, motor club AAA reports.

AAA reports a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $2.16, up one cent from the previous day. Retail prices have been on the general decline as demand pressures ease in the waning months of the year. The price for gas on Thursday is 2.3 percent, or 5 cents a gallon, less than it was one month ago, but 5 percent, or 12 cents, higher than on this date last year.

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Crude oil prices at one point Wednesday rallied 10 percent after members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries brokered an agreement to cut production for the first time in nearly a decade. Oil prices have faced negative pressure from a market flush with product and the agreement is intended to pull things back into balance.

Lower crude oil prices resulted in lower gasoline prices for U.S. commuters and have acted as a form of economic stimulus. Those same low oil prices, however, meant layoffs for some working in oil-rich states like Texas and North Dakota.

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AAA noted that gasoline prices for last week's Thanksgiving holiday were the lowest they've been since 2008, the same year OPEC last agreed to cut oil production. The national average price for gas was moving steadily lower ahead of OPEC's meeting Wednesday in Vienna.

Crude oil prices had been moving higher ahead of the OPEC meeting and the U.S. Energy Information Administration said prices at the pump had moved in kind. Nevertheless, refiners in the country are producing a winter blend of gas, which is less expensive to make and therefore cheaper for consumers.

The federal government in a report in early November said it expected the national average price for gas to fall below the $2 per gallon mark by January.

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The Great Lakes states continue to be the most volatile market in the country for retail gasoline. The price for gas in Michigan was up less than 1 percent overnight to $2.23 per gallon. The West Coast is the most expensive market in the country, though California gas prices actually slipped a little overnight to $2.65 per gallon.

An analysis from price-watcher GasBuddy.com shows some of the more volatile retail markets in the country are holding steady early Thursday in the wake of the OPEC agreement.

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