The late summer slide in global crude oil prices will push the cost of U.S. gasoline to its lowest Labor Day level since 2010. Better yet: Prices are likely to continue dropping to 2014 lows by mid-autumn.
Nationally, regular gasoline will average $3.41 a gallon — 18 cents less than 2013's Labor Day weekend and 42 cents less than the record $3.83 average for the 2012 holiday weekend.
The energy markets have shrugged off tensions in the Middle East, the Ukraine-Russia conflict and minor supply disruptions during normal peak summer driving season.
But with demand now at seven-year lows and daily North American oil production at five-decade highs, geopolitical risks are having less impact on oil prices.
Even news of a larger-than-expected drop in oil supplies is having little impact. The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday crude oil stockpiles fell to 360.5 million barrels last week, the lowest levels since January.
Still, benchmark West Texas crude oil was at $93.88 a barrel Wednesday, down from a June peak of $106. Brent crude oil, which peaked at $115.75, currently trades at $102.66.
Pump prices should continue sliding through early November, when they could average $3.25 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com oil analysts Tom Kloza and Patrick DeHaan.
Eleven states — Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas — are already close to or below $3.25 a gallon.
At $3.15 a gallon, South Carolina has the nation's lowest average gas price. Highest: Hawaii, averaging $4.31.
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