|Oil Producers Pump Up The Volume|
|Key Words||Prices, OPEC, output, wholesale prices, retail prices, competition|
Gasoline prices are collapsing so fast that drivers could soon be paying less than 80 cents a gallon. The decline may continue because the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has decided that as non-OPEC countries are unwilling to curb production, neither will OPEC reduce its output. Crude oil prices hit $30 a barrel on September 11, but have since fallen as low as $16.80. Wholesale gasoline prices are a mere 44.5 cents. Retail gasoline prices may fall to less than 70 cents by Christmas as a result.
Lower prices at the pump are expected to increase driving. That suits those who have turned to driving due to heightened airline security. Local competition between retailers has added to the pressure on gasoline prices.
Of course, there is still a lot of regional variation in gasoline prices. For example, in California, prices are cheaper in Los Angeles and Long Beach, averaging $1.26 a gallon, than in the north, such as in San Francisco where the average is $1.76 a gallon. Only Hawaii is higher, with prices averaging $1.83. These prices compare with a current national average of $1.20 a gallon.
(Updated December 1, 2001)
|Source||James R. Healey, "Gas prices could skid below 80 cents," USA Today, November 16, 2001|
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