Crude oil prices reflect the largest weekly loss since May 6, when Osama bin Laden's death was announced. Poor economic news flooded the market and pushed oil prices below $90 a barrel, despite government agreements to raise the nation's debt ceiling. Oil closed Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange at $86.88 a barrel—$8.82 less than the week prior.
Consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level in the past two months, while consumer spending fell for the first time in almost two years, according to the Commerce Department. This news coupled with slower than expected economic growth for the second quarter of the year caused oil prices to drop substantially. Crude prices are expected to remain below $90 a barrel for the next few weeks, while some economists forecast prices will drop below $85 a barrel.
"Oil prices saw sharp reductions late last week before the S&P announced a reduction in the U.S. credit rating to AA+. Now that the nation's credit rating is reduced, we can expect oil prices to drop even further," said Jessica Brady, spokesperson, AAA Auto Club South. "Retail gas prices have already started to fall and consumers will see further reductions at the pump throughout the week."
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.67 per gallon, a 3-cent decrease from last week. Florida’s average price of $3.67 reflects a 4-cent decrease, while Georgia’s average price of $3.66 fell 6 cents. Tennessee’s average price of $3.55 decreased 2 cents from last week, respectively. Gas prices locally have been stable for a couple of weeks. Several discounters in the 'Boro are offering regular for $3.49 and one at $3.43.