Gasoline fell as refineries returned from maintenance while fuel demand remained below seasonal averages. Crack spreads narrowed.
Futures touched $2.996 a gallon, the first time prices dropped below $3 since summer-grade gasoline began trading March 1. The Energy Department said gasoline demand in the four weeks ended March 22 averaged 8.43 million barrels a day, 0.2 percent lower than a year earlier.
“People are factoring in some refineries coming back online, and we’ve yet to see any pick-up in demand,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “People are watching to see whether when the weather warms up people are going to start getting back in their cars.”
Gasoline fell 2.95 cents, or 1 percent, to $3.0113 a gallon at 10:17 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Volume was 37 percent greater than the 100-day average for the time.
Gasoline’s crack spread versus Brent crude on ICE Futures Europe slipped 19 cents to $16.83 a barrel. The fuel’s premium over West Texas Intermediate dropped 55 cents to $29.97 a barrel.
Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery fell 1.4 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $3.0734 a gallon on the Nymex on trading 33 percent below average. The fuel’s crack spread versus WTI widened 18 cents to $32.66 a barrel, and against Brent gained 52 cents to $19.50.
Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.3 cent to $3.64 a gallon, AA said on its website yesterday.
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