TAMPA —Retail gasoline prices remain stable as the price of a barrel of oil neared $100 again after multiple reports were released last week that showed positive acceleration for the U.S. economy. Single-family home purchases rose in November to a seven-month high as U.S. unemployment claims fell by 4,000 to 364,000 last week, reported the U.S. Labor Department.
At the same time, U.S. stockpiles of crude oil decreased by 10.6 million barrels and consumer sentiment rose to 69.9 from 64.1 at the end of November, according to a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan report. Consumer sentiment rose more than the initial projection of 67.7. Pressure on Iran's nuclear program continues as more countries ban together to stifle the country's nuclear efforts. Crude oil settled Friday at $99.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange—$6.15 more than the week prior.
"Although the national average for a gallon of gasoline rose one cent, state prices in the Southeast remain stable with no increase," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokesperson, The Auto Club Group. "However, the rate of decrease at the pump may begin to slow as we approach the New Year and the market rallies as more uplifting economic news is released."
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.23 per gallon, 1 cent more than last week. Florida’s average price of $3.25 and Tennessee’s average price of $3.05 both decreased 1-cent from last week as well. Georgia’s average price of 3.11 reflects a 4-cent decrease from last week, respectively.