The price of crude oil remained relatively unchanged from last week, giving a stable start to gas prices in the new year. Crude oil closed 13 cents less than last week to settle at $91.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to a news release from the American Automobile Association.
December showed the largest decrease in U.S. oil stockpiles in the last four years, with inventories dropping more than 20 million barrels to 339 million. The decrease came with an increase in holiday travel and demand for heating oil. However, economists forecast the price of oil will decrease this week as stockpiles are expected to make gains as demand slows.
"It's a mixed bag right now as to whether or not oil will increase this week," said Jessica Brady, manager of AAA Public Relations. "Although economists forecast a lag in demand, a currently weak U.S. dollar could drive the price of oil higher this week. In addition, investor optimism is high as forecasts project an increase in both heating oil and fuel demand for 2011. Retail gas prices will likely remain unchanged from last week and give a stable start to the new year."
The national average price of unleaded regular gasoline is $3.07 per gallon, up 3 cents from last week. Florida’s average price of $3.09 increased 3 cents from last week.