NEW YORK (AP) — America isn’t generating enough jobs, Europe is headed for recession, and China, the world’s powerhouse economy, is starting to slow.
At least there’s some good news at the pump.
The price of oil fell to its lowest level in almost nine months Thursday — $78.20 a barrel. Gasoline is way down, too, at $3.47 a gallon. The national average for gas is 17 cents cheaper than a year ago and down 46 cents from its peak in early April. Experts say it could dip to $3.30 by July 4th.
“We’re grinning ear to ear,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com. “This was so unexpected just a few weeks ago, and it’s such great timing just as people are hitting the road” on summer trips.
Oil fell Thursday after reports from China and the U.S. both pointed to a slowdown in manufacturing. As factories fill fewer orders, they use less energy, and that cuts into petroleum demand.
China’s oil demand rose less than 1 percent in May, the second-smallest increase this year, noted Platts, the energy-information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Oil investors are also disappointed that the Federal Reserve didn’t announce more aggressive moves to stimulate the economy after its meeting this week.
The Fed ended the meeting with a dour outlook for the U.S. economy, cutting its forecast for growth and saying that the unemployment rate won’t fall much more the rest of the year.
“I’m not expecting any better economic news for quite some time,” said independent petroleum analyst Andrew Lipow.
The gloomy forecast is putting more pressure on the price of oil, which has fallen by nearly $32 a barrel, or 29 percent, since its high of $109.77 on February 24. Already, the price has been pushed lower by easing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, Europe’s debt crisis and weak jobs growth in the U.S.
Meanwhile, natural gas prices jumped more than 3 percent. The government said that the nation’s supplies didn’t grow as much as expected last week. The Energy Information Administration reported that the U.S. was holding more than 3 trillion cubic feet of gas in storage facilities. That’s more than 27 percent higher than average for this time of year, but a little less than what analysts expected.
Natural gas futures rose by 6.5 cents to end at $2.582 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York.
In other energy futures trading, heating oil lost 6.21 cents to end at $2.5253 per gallon, while wholesale gasoline lost 4.01 cents to finish at $2.5501 per gallon.
Brent crude, which helps set the price of oil imported into the U.S., fell by $3.46 to end the day at $89.23 per barrel.
Follow Chris Kahn on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ChrisKahnAP
More Related Stories
- Here come the tornado truthers. Already
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Moore officials: Funds for "safe rooms" were held up by red tape
- Rand Paul: Congress should apologize to Apple, not the other way around
- Rescue crews race to find tornado survivors
- Looting in Oklahoma?
- Hundreds of low-wage federally contracted workers strike in D.C.
- Okla. mother's tearful reunion with her 8-year-old son
- New campaign compares gun control to anti-LGBT discrimination
- Study: Salt Lake City is gay parenting capital of the U.S.
- Inhofe and Coburn: Red state hypocrites
- Teen activist to meet with Abercrombie CEO
- Watch: Family emerges from storm shelter after tornado
- Must-see morning clip: Barackalypse Now
- Okla. tornado survivor reunited with dog trapped in rubble live on camera
- Is Pope Francis an exorcist?
- Oklahoma death count confirmed at 24, 9 children
- Frantic parents search for children in tornado's wake
- Crews dig through rubble after deadly tornado
- 51 killed in massive Oklahoma tornado
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11