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Crude Oil Prices Temporarily Stymied on March to $100 per Barrel - No Relief For Consumers

NEW YORK, Nov 19, 2010 - Although managing to close the week up, the price of crude oil declined from the previous week on investor concerns about the Irish bank bailout and suggestions in China that more would be done to curb inflation.

January delivery crude oil opened at $81.04 Thursday and tacked on $1.87 to $82.91 per barrel. The reason? On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude oil supplies dropped by 7.3 million barrels to 357.6 million in the week ending Nov. 12.

Wholesale heating oil prices also rebounded, adding 4.91 cents to close at $2.3052 per gallon. Reformulated gasoline blendstock added 4.45 cents to close at $2.1695 per gallon. Henry Hub natural gas prices added 1.3 cents to $4.02 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline declined slightly to $2.888 per gallon from Wednesday's $2.892, AAA said.

No Relief For Consumers

Consumers are not benefiting from the current decline in the price of crude. The U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting an increase in the retail price of gasoline and diesel fuel, and residential heating oil. In a counter-seasonal move, Propane supplies actually increased, especially on the East Coast, suggesting homeowners in the Northeast are wearing sweaters and keeping their homes less warm this year.

Retail gasoline and diesel prices increase

"The U.S. average retail price for a gallon of gasoline was higher for the third consecutive week, increasing almost 3 cents from last week to $2.89 per gallon, $0.26 per gallon higher than last year at this time. The East Coast saw the largest price increase in the country, with gasoline six cents higher than last week - This despite the fact that Americans are driving less."

Residential Heating Fuel Prices Increase

"Residential heating oil prices increased during the period ending November 15, 2010. The average residential heating oil price increased by approximately $0.05 per gallon last week to reach $3.13 per gallon, an increase of over $0.38 per gallon from the same time last year. Wholesale heating oil prices decreased by almost $0.01 per gallon last week, reaching a price just shy of $2.45 per gallon. This is $0.40 per gallon higher than last year's price."

Stocks of Propane Post a Gain in Counter-Seasonal Build

"Inventories of propane in the United States experienced a counter-seasonal build last week, growing by 0.9 million barrels to end at 64.8 million barrels total. The build occurred in all regions across the country. The largest gains were in the East Coast and Gulf Coast regions, each adding about 0.4 million barrels of propane inventory. The Midwest region gained almost 0.2 million barrels of propane stocks and the Rocky Mountain/West Coast region was up slightly. Propylene non-fuel use inventories represented 3.3 percent of total propane inventories."

Sources: United Press International and U.S. Energy Information Administration

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