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.