Gasoline prices fell again around the nation, the Energy Department’s weekly survey showed, with the U.S. average dropping below the year-earlier price for the first time in 2 1/2 years.
Analysts called it a milestone, even though it probably didn’t feel like much relief to motorists. The national average fell 5.2 cents to $3.87 a gallon, the Energy Department said. The average was nearly a penny below the price a year earlier, the first time that has happened since October 2009.
In California, where drivers have paid more than $4 a gallon on average for 10 weeks, the average fell for the sixth week in a row, dropping 3.2 cents to $4.203. That’s down 17.3 cents from the high in the state so far this year of $4.376 set on March 19. It’s also 1.4 cents below the state’s average a year earlier.
The decline below the year-earlier average was perhaps a sign that “we can restore some gas-sanity in this country,” with prices continuing to drop in the coming weeks, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, a website that tracks fuel prices.
In other energy news, crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 77 cents, to $103.11 a barrel. In London, Brent crude prices slipped 5 cents to $118.71 a barrel.