Oil prices rose last week after investors speculated that a substantial decrease in U.S. stockpiles of crude during the first week of July would mean increased fuel demand and the start of an economic rebound. Crude stockpiles were projected to drop 2.5 million barrels in early July, boosting investor optimism which caused oil prices to settle Friday at $96.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange—$1.26 more than the previous week.
However, a recent report from the Department of Energy showed U.S. stockpiles dropped approximately 890,000 barrels the first week of July, much less than initially projected. The Labor Department also released a report showing the U.S. added fewer jobs than forecast in June and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent, the highest level this year.
"Although optimism at the start of the month pushed oil and retail gas prices higher, the negative economic news will likely cause oil prices to lose any gains made last week,” said Jessica Brady, spokesperson, AAA Auto Club South. "Consumers will see an increase in gas prices this week as a result of crude oil closing higher than the previous week, but the increases should be short lived."
The national average price of unleaded regular gasoline is $3.62 a gallon, 6 cents more than last week. Florida’s average price of $3.60 is 10 cents more than last week. Tennessee’s average price of $3.47 and Georgia’s average price of $3.57 both reflect an 11-cent increase from last week, respectively. Although nothing to shout about, many discounters here in the 'Boro are offering regular gas for $2.27 per gallon.