Gasoline prices fall but stay at record levels

Pump prices continued to fall in California and the rest of the nation, but they remained at record levels for the end of November.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California fell 6.8 cents over the last week to $3.718, according to the Energy Department’s weekly survey. That was 56.6 cents higher than the year-earlier per-gallon average and 32 cents higher than the old record for this time of year, which was set in 2007.

Nationally, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline declined 6.1 cents to $3.307. That was 45.1 cents higher than at this time last year and 21 cents higher than the previous record, set in 2007.

Analysts said prices probably wouldn’t drop significantly given the strength of global demand for refined fuels, such as diesel, and relatively high oil prices.


“As long as oil is hovering around $100 a barrel, gasoline prices are going to remain high,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst with PFGBest Research in Chicago. “If we do get a break in the price of oil, retail gasoline should fall a lot faster.”

In other energy news, oil prices were boosted by a big start to the holiday retail season in the U.S. and by indications that Europe may finally find a way out of its debt crisis.

The U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude, gained $1.44 to close at $98.21 a barrel after climbing as high as $100.74 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In London, the European benchmark, Brent North Sea crude, climbed $2.60 to settle at $109 a barrel, close to its $109.49 peak for the day on the ICE Futures Exchange.