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Gas prices see significant drop for first time in months

Lee Herald Favicon 16For the first time since March, the national average for gasoline has fallen on a week-to-week basis, the American Automobile Association said Monday.

Monday’s national average of $2.95 per gallon is two cents lower than a week ago, though it is nearly 60 higher than this time in 2017.

Locally, the average fill-up in Naples dropped four cents over the last week to $2.88 per gallon, while in Lee County it dropped seven cents to $2.82 per gallon. The statewide average on Monday was $2.86.

The drop is being credited to a slump in oil prices driven by talks that Saudi Arabia and Russia, part of a coordinated effort to raise prices by cutting production, that the two nations may start to boost supply. An OPEC meeting where this decision would be made is coming on June 22.

“Gas prices could drop 10-15 cents, based on recent oil price declines,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The discount will not happen overnight, because it usually takes a couple weeks for shifts like this to play out at the pump. However, any downward potential would be wiped out if futures prices suddenly bounce higher.”

While some areas of the country saw gas prices creep over $3 per gallon, California started to threaten $4, the barrier has been largely unbroken locally and statewide.

But that doesn’t mean that the peak has come and gone, or that drivers aren’t still paying significantly more than last year, says GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan.

“We may have dodged a bullet in avoiding the $3 per gallon level for now, but not everything is rosy yet,” DeHaan said. While nearly forty states saw average prices drop in the last week, ten still saw small increases, so this is not an all-inclusive party by any means. Prices remain well above their year-ago level, costing the country $228 million more every day versus a year ago. Moving forward, all eyes remain on OPEC and their coming meeting to see if they’ll push oil prices higher, or if they’ll allow a respite for the summer driving season.”

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