The price of crude oil settled at $100.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday — an increase of $4.19 from the previous week, said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA’s The Auto Club Group.
“Although oil prices reached $100 a barrel, retail gasoline prices continue to fall,” she said. “While it’s no surprise oil prices rose on ... positive economic news, it does not mean we will see a huge surge in gasoline consumption as a result.”
The AAA spokeswoman said U.S. stockpiles of oil also rose, reaching four million barrels in the last week of November, which showed that demand in the U.S. was still somewhat weak.
“Gas prices may stabilize this week [however], as we see whether or not oil prices continue to rise beyond $100 a barrel, or if prices retreat,” Brady added.
The economic news to which she referred –– that contributed to the rise in crude oil prices –– included several factors: Brady said concerns of possible threats to Iran’s shipment of oil, after the European Union tightened sanctions on the country, helped oil prices reach $100 a barrel. Iran, one of the largest oil producers worldwide, pumped 3.6 million barrels a day in November, she said.
The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 8.6 percent, a two-year low, according to The U.S. Department of Labor, and there were gains in the number of workers being added to payrolls, according to government data.
Additionally, a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers concluded that the consumer sentiment index rose in November, from 64.1, to 65.8, Brady said.
The survey's Index of Consumer Expectations is an official part of the U.S. Index of Leading Economic Indicators, according to the Thomson Reuters’ web site, http://thomsonreuters.com.
The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in Georgia is $3.19 per gallon, which remained unchanged from last week, she said. Florida’s price decreased four cents, and is currently at $3.28 a gallon. Tennessee and the nation experienced a decrease of three cents in their average prices, compared to the week before.
The Volunteer State is currently at $3.08 a gallon, while the nation is at $3.27 a gallon, Brady said.