Retail gas prices across the nation fell an average of 25 cents in the past two weeks as refineries in the Gulf Coast steadily resumed production, according to a survey released Sunday.
Still, prices remained slightly higher than pre-Hurricane Katrina levels.
The weighted average price for all three grades declined to $2.69 a gallon on Oct. 21, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations around the country.
Self-serve regular averaged $2.66 a gallon nationwide. The price for midgrade was $2.76, while premium-grade hit $2.86.
The average pump price for all three grades is still 3 cents per gallon higher than before Hurricane Katrina barreled into the Gulf Coast, Lundberg said.
Several factors contributed to the recent decline, including a seasonal decrease in demand and the resumption of production at many refineries knocked off-line by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“The supply and demand were grossly out of balance and remain somewhat out of balance in the gas market,” Lundberg said. “But that balance is normalizing as refining capacity is brought back up.”
Lundberg said she expected the cost-cutting to continue in the coming weeks unless an extreme winter drives up heating oil demand and affects the price of crude oil and its derivatives.
The lowest average price in the nation for regular unleaded among the stations surveyed was $2.20 a gallon in Tulsa, Okla. The highest price was $3.01 in Honolulu.