The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Orange County fell today for the 51st consecutive day, dropping seven-tenths of a cent to $3.671, but the declines could be threatened by rising crude oil prices.
The Orange County average price is 6.3 cents less than one week ago, 48.5 cents lower than one month ago and 9.3 cents below what it was one year ago. It has fallen 71.8 cents over the past 51 days, including seven-tenths of a cent on Thursday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
The average price is the lowest since Jan. 4, and the streak of declines is the longest since a 90-day streak from Sept. 16-Dec. 14, 2008.
"The price of oil has jumped by nearly $10 a barrel in recent days on news of a deal to help keep European economies stable and that has also increased wholesale gasoline prices locally," said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.
"We'll see in the next few days how that affects retail prices, but for now, with an average of about $3.70 a gallon in most areas, drivers should easily be able to find gas stations in the $3.50 to $3.60 range in most cities."
Despite a 44-cent decrease Thursday to $87.22, the price of a barrel of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange is 12.3 percent higher than the eight-month low of $77.69 reached on June 28.
Crude oil costs account for two-thirds to three-quarters of the price of a gallon of gasoline, said Tupper Hull of the Western States Petroleum Association, a trade association representing oil companies in six western states.
-- City News Service