Monday, February 22, 2010

Gasoline prices edge down in California, jump in U.S.

Gasoline prices had drifted as low as they could go in recent weeks, those analysts said, because some recent refinery outages had limited supply -- and demand is expected to go up. Experts were expecting a surge in demand as motorists returned to driving after harsh storms dropped large amounts of snow in parts of the Eastern U.S. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California fell 0.8 cents to $2.918, its lowest level since Dec. 21, according to the Energy Department's weekly survey of filling stations. Nationally, the average rose for the second straight week, up 4.7 cents to $2.655 a gallon. "We saw the national bottom on prices about a week ago," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey. California prices were sure to bounce as well, Kloza added, noting that the trading price for unfinished CARBOB, California Reformulated Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending, had risen about 25 cents to $2.12 in recent weeks. The experts were less certain about the short-term direction for oil. Phil Flynn, an analyst for PFGBest Research in Chicago, said oil could drop $10 or more a barrel after a strike by refinery workers in France and concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions failed to result in more than a slight nudge above $80. Crude oil futures for March delivery settled 35 cents higher at $80.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Other analysts, such as Kloza, saw momentum gathering for a rise in oil prices, based on sentiments that the recovery from the global recession was strong enough in Asia to build demand for crude in spite of the continuing sluggishness of the U.S. economy. "Energy traders are confident and oil will be going up. It's like watching a speech and seeing the dynamics of the crowd when you know they are about to give a standing ovation



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home