Story by Chris Graham
The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded in Virginia dipped below the $3 mark today, days after prices went back beneath the $3-per barrier in the Greater Augusta area.
The average is down a stunning 41 cents since last week and 83 cents in the last month.
Three months ago, the average gallon of regular unleaded nationwide was at $4.11.
The biggest factor – go figure, it’s a decline in the price of crude-oil futures, which many analysts had been saying in the spring and summer was artificially high due to largely unregulated offshore market trading that pushed a barrel of crude past $125 for several week. In contrast, crude-oil futures were trading at $74 a barrel at the close of business yesterday. The reason for the decline doesn’t seem to have to do with factors involving increased regulatory oversight of futures trading, but more basic supply-and-demand forces. “Gloom is casting its long shadow on the oil market as traders fret about what a possible – or imminent – recession could mean for petroleum demand,” said Martha Meade, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.