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Gas prices drop a penny in the Tampa area

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:26 PM
TAMPA -

Drivers in the Tampa Bay area can at least take solace that gas prices didn't jump last week, and actually dropped by a penny.

Though they'll probably start climbing again this week.

A gallon of regular unleaded now averages $3.785 in Tampa Bay, compared to $3.798 last week and $3.505 a month ago. That's better than the statewide average of $3.828, compared to $3.830 last week and $3.573 last month, according to AAA Auto Club South.

Stockpiles of crude oil in the United States actually rose last week to 2.3 million barrels, when analysts had expected them to decrease by 1.3 million barrels, according to the Energy Department, potentially due to refineries shut down for maintenance.

"As long as the dollar remains weak against other currencies like the euro, oil prices will remain elevated," said Jessica Brady, spokesperson, AAA Auto Club South. Most oil is traded in U.S. dollars globally, so when the dollar climbs or falls in relation to other currencies, oil prices can swing almost immediately.

"It's likely oil prices will yo-yo between $105 and $115 a barrel for the next couple weeks as various economic reports on supply and demand are released."

That probably means retail gas prices could inch up slightly this week, with average increases between 1 and 5 cents.

 

Contact Richard Mullins at (813) 259-7919 or rmullins@tampatrib.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/DailyDeadline.

 

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