Gasoline prices continue slide
NEW YORK — Retail gasoline prices continued their surprising spring slide Thursday, dropping a penny to $3.83 per gallon.
It's the 10th straight day of declines for the national average retail price. Pump prices are 4 cents lower than they were last year at this time.
Retail gasoline prices typically rise in the spring and peak for the year in May after refiners switch to a more expensive summer blend of gasoline. Analysts say this year's spring peak may have come early — a relief to drivers who saw prices rise 66 cents from Jan. 1 through the first week of April.
Gasoline prices have fallen from a high of $3.94 per gallon on April 6 as this year's rise in oil prices has leveled off and U.S. gasoline demand has fallen.
Benchmark crude rose slightly Thursday to $104.55, a gain of 0.4 percent, on expectations that the U.S. economy will continue to grow modestly and that the European debt crisis would not spread further.
Brent crude, which is used by refiners to make most of the gasoline sold in the U.S., rose 80 cents to $119.92.
Natural gas prices fell at the end of the trading day to $2.036 per thousand cubic feet, a decline of 3 cents, after spending most of the day in positive territory.