Crude oil prices drop for first time in month

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TAMPA, Fla. — The price of crude oil dropped for the first time in a month after Japan experienced their worst earthquake on record.

Japan was forced to shut down multiple oil refineries as a result of the quake, which produce approximately 600,000 barrels of oil a day combined.

Despite the drop in the countries oil production, oil prices were pushed lower after news Japan may experience a significant drop in demand for weeks to come. Japan is the third-largest oil consuming country in the world..

The "Day of Rage" that was expected to happen in Saudi Arabia never occurred and also helped to push oil prices lower. It's uncertain whether or not oil prices will continue to decrease this week as events in Japan and the Mideast continue to unfold.

"Oil prices typically move higher when a natural disaster occurs that forces oil refineries to shut down, but Japan's oil demand is expected to see such a significant drop, that it actually pushed prices lower," said Jessica Brady, manager, Public Relations, AAA Auto Club South. "The fact that the 'Day of Rage' expected in Saudi Arabia never occurred was a positive, since it surely would have pushed oil prices higher.

"Retail gas prices will likely remain relatively unchanged this week, with the possibility of seeing prices drop a cent or two."

The price of crude oil settled Friday to close at $101.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange—$3.26 less than last week.

The national average price of unleaded regular gasoline is $3.55 per gallon, a 5-cent increase from last week. Florida’s average price of $3.58 increased 4 cents from last week. While Georgia’s average price of $3.48 and Tennessee’s average price of $3.42 increased 5 cents from last week, respectively. 

Regular Unleaded Gasoline

                                    Current           Week Ago      Month Ago     Year Ago

National:                    $3.557          $3.503                  $3.127              $2.788

Florida:                      $3.584          $3.546                  $3.136              $2.844

Georgia:                     $3.480          $3.431                  $3.053             $2.714

Tennessee:                 $3.422          $3.376                   $2.986            $2.693

AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report is updated each day and reflects actual prices from credit card transactions within the past 24 hours at two-thirds (100,000) gasoline stations in the U.S. Its accuracy is unparalleled.

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AAA, Economy, Gasoline
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Members Opinions:
March 17, 2011 at 6:04pm
As a student money is tight. In addition to commuting to school I have to drive an hour to get to work. Gas prices are getting ridiculous and money is being wasted. Yet when I first heard about Japan the thought of oil did not cross my mind. This is in part because my roommate’s mother lives in Tokyo and we were far more concerned with the Japanese people. Yet once people started to go talk about the price of gas increasing even more, potentially $4, I filled up my tank. However I did not consider the fact that Japan counts for much of the demand of oil, but can't really use gas if their cars were washed away. When I first saw the news on television they talked about all the destruction it had caused, then moved on to oil prices, and then moved on to the NFL. Even though right now Japan isn't in need of their share of oil, and right now prices haven't jumped, considering past history I believe they will rise due to what is happening in Japan. AAA Auto Club South states them that oil prices typically move higher when natural disaster occurs. They may not need it now, but when they demand does come back you will see it on the price tag.
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