Local gas prices rise 3 cents per gallon, but expected to drop

Average retail gasoline prices in Naples have risen 2.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.15 per gallon Sunday. This compares with the national average that has increased 1.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.07 per gallon, according to NaplesGasPrices.com.

Local gas prices on Sunday were 2.9 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 12.4 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 10 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 32.3 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago, according to the website.

As expected, the price of oil dropped last week after fuel demand slowed and reports showed the U.S. added fewer jobs than forecast in December. Crude oil closed Friday at $88.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, $3.35 less than last week.

"Motorists will get a break at the pump this week as retail gas prices are expected to drop," said Jessica Brady, spokesperson for AAA Auto Club South. "A strong U.S. dollar also helped keep oil prices low last week, reducing its appeal as a commodity.

As holiday demand slowed, U.S. stockpiles of crude oil rose and helped push oil prices lower last week. In addition, the Labor Department reported fewer jobs were added in December than forecast. Payrolls increased by 103,000, when they were projected to increase by 150,000.

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