1 of 2 | If recent trends in the price of crude oil continue, travel club AAA said retail gasoline prices could start to inch lower. Crude oil prices account for the bulk of what consumers see at the pump. File photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
June 2 (UPI) -- Despite volatility in the broader market, retail gasoline prices have been more or less unchanged over the course of a month, results Friday from AAA show.
The travel club reported a national average retail price of $3.57 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, unchanged from last week and just 2 cents lower than the national average at this time last month.
Andrew Gross, a spokesperson for AAA, said demand likely cooled off after the long holiday weekend, keeping a lid on prices at the retail level.
"Meanwhile, the cost for a barrel of oil dropped below $70 per barrel," he said. "Pump prices could dip further as the start of summer approaches."
The price of oil accounts for the bulk of what consumers see at the pump. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, lost heavy ground earlier this week amid concerns about the passage of the proposal to resolve the impasse over the debt ceiling.
WTI traded as low as $68 per barrel earlier this week, but was in rally mode Friday after the Senate passed the debt measure late Thursday. WTI was trading at around $72 per barrel as of 10:15 a.m. EDT.
Prices are sure to react to a weekend meeting of OPEC+, the core group of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member states allies such as Russia. Ministers there may be working against lower prices after their latest decision to curb production failed to push crude into the $100 range.
The federal government, meanwhile, is expecting the national average to be around $3.33 for 2023, down from the $3.97 average for 2022.
Prices nonetheless could be volatile given that June marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects this year will be a "near-normal" hurricane season, with between 12 and 17 named storms. A tropical depression has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, though it's likely headed away from the continental United States toward the Cuba.