Sept. 24–Gasoline prices in Houston and across the country fell last week, but the declines may be short-lived as crude oil prices rise.
The average price of regular unleaded in the Houston area fell 1.9 cents to $2.53 a gallon, while the national average dropped by less than a cent to $2.83 a gallon, according to GasBuddy, which tracks fuel prices nationwide.
In Houston, gasoline costs 10.6 cents more than it did at this time last year, when prices spiked after Hurricane Harvey. Nationally, prices have increased by nearly 29 cents during the same period.
The declines, however, are likely temporary. Crude oil prices surged last week ahead of Sunday’s OPEC meeting, where the world’s largest producers decided not to immediately boost output to keep prices in check.
The outcome of the meeting has driven crude oil prices higher still. On Monday morning, the international benchmark hovered at $80.82 dollars a barrel, while the U.S. benchmark neared $72 a barrel in New York trading.
Oil prices are expected to rise again ahead of November, when the U.S. imposes additional sanctions on Iran. That will further restrict that nation’s exports, cutting into global supplies.
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Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said those sanctions could have larger-than-anticipated effects on global stockpiles in light of OPEC’s decision not to boost output right away.
“Gas prices may not see the typical decline we had been expecting as recently as the last two weeks,” he said. “That’s not going to be good news for motorists.”
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