Oil rose slightly last week after reports showed U.S. manufacturing increased in the month of June, when it was forecast fall. The U.S. manufacturing index climbed to 55.3 in June from 53.5 in May, when it was expected to drop to 52. As a result, the price of crude oil settled Friday at $94.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange—$3.78 more than the week prior.
Although U.S. manufacturing numbers were positive, China's were the opposite with slowed economic growth in the country. China is the second largest oil-consuming country and a decrease in their manufacturing gauge will most likely push oil prices lower this week. The first of 30 million barrels of oil will be released into the market from U.S. reserves later this week, which is also expected to push oil prices lower.
"Consumers are still expected to get a break at the pump as retail gas prices continue to fall week after week," said Jessica Brady, spokesperson, AAA Auto Club South. "Pump prices are projected to decrease again this week as the U.S. prepares to release the first of the oil reserves into the market."
The national average price of unleaded regular gasoline is $3.56 a gallon, unchanged from last week. Florida’s average price of $3.49 is 4 cents less than last week. Tennessee’s average price of $3.36 and Georgia’s average price of $3.46 both reflect a 3-cent decrease from last week, respectively.
As discounters juggle to attract customers, Independence Day prices in the 'Boro varied between a low of $3.19 a gallon to around $3.23.