Retail Gasoline Price Slide Continues

Further downward shift coming, says Lundberg

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Self-serve regular gasoline shed 6.4 cents per gallon between May 6 and May 20, and is now $2.1489. This continues a trend begun April 8, when the all-time record high price for retail gasoline (unadjusted for inflation) was $2.2888, establishing its peak, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 7,000 U.S. gas stations nationwide.

In the past six weeks, street prices fell about 14 cents a gallon total, very close to what crude oil prices did during [image-nocss] the same period.

Crude oil prices lost nearly $9 per barrel from their own all-time peak, and closed below $47 for WTI on the NYMEX on May 20. As has been said, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been pumping its heart out. Although some analysts speculate that OPEC will cut production at its June 15 meeting to prevent much more price deterioration, right now that seems unlikely, analyst Trilby Lundberg said.

Other factors contributing to retail gasoline price slippage were the return of some idled refinery capacity during pre-spring maintenance and repairs, strong gasoline imports and some degree of dampened gasoline demand growth in response to price.

Retailers gave up about 1 cent of margin during the past two weeks, but year-to-date, self-serve regular brings in just over 9 centsslightly lower than the annual average retail margin of 2004. Since 2002, on an annual average basis, retail margin is up well over 2 cents.

As Junethe first of three summer driving monthsapproaches, the prospects for retail prices are for further downward drift, said Lundberg.

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