While it’s not officially the summer travel season, American motorists are getting a bit of a break as oil prices continue to dip, benchmark crude falling below $100 in recent days and taking another tumble in the wake of the political shake-up in Europe.
Crude prices have fallen nearly 15% since peaking in late winter and with U.S. motorists driving less even as inventories rise the equation suggests prices could keep falling. Adding to the downward momentum: sluggish job growth and other weak economic news.
According to the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, prices have been falling steadily in recent weeks and are now down almost 16 cents since early May for a gallon of self-serve regular unleaded. Diesel prices, on average across the country, have dipped about eight cents.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of reasons to remain concern, the International Monetary Fund recently warned. Pointing to the ongoing debate over Iran’s nuclear program it issued an advisory cautioning that, “in case of supply disruptions, oil prices could increase by $20 to $30 a barrel. A cut in Iranian exports could be exacerbated by below average oil stocks in many countries.”