Gas prices fall again but remain about $1 a gallon higher than this time last year
Gas prices fell again in the last week, the Energy Department said, but fuel costs are still higher for this time of year than at any time since 2008.
In California, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline fell 6.5 cents to $4.056 a gallon, according to the Energy Department’s weekly telephone survey of services stations around the U.S. That was still $1.032 more than a year earlier and the highest price for this time of year since the $4.242 a gallon recorded June 2, 2008.
Nationally, the average declined 5.5 cents to $3.794. That was $1.066 higher than the year-earlier price and the highest start for the summer driving season since the $3.976 recorded June 2, 2008.
Chicago had the dubious distinction of having the most expensive gasoline among the nation’s major cities, at an average of $4.141 a gallon, Energy Department statistics showed, followed by Los Angeles, at $4.089 a gallon, and San Francisco, at $4.061.
Chicago’s expensive fuel results from refinery problems, an analyst said.
“We have the Chicago boutique blend, a politically concocted mess of weird specifications, and it’s only made in two refineries. One of them, the Exxon Mobil refinery in Joliet, is shut down,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at PFGBest Research in Chicago.
Flynn added that Chicago “also has some of the highest taxes in the nation. There is a city, county, state and federal tax on gasoline here. Chicago has never seen a gas tax it didn’t like.”
In oil markets, West Texas crude oil for July delivery climbed $2.11 to close at $102.70 a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, ending a slide of nearly 10% in May. But crude prices are still 39% above year-earlier levels.
In London, Brent crude oil for July delivery rose $2.05 to close at $116.73 a barrel.