U.S. retail gasoline prices dropped steadily — if slowly — in November. Friday the national average fell less than a penny to $3.40 per gallon, according to the Oil Price Information Service, AAA and Wright Express. That's 12 cents lower than at the start of the month.
The difference in prices around the country is wider than usual. Drivers in some Northeastern states are paying almost $4 per gallon on average because supplies remain tight in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which closed refineries, pipelines and fuel terminals for a time in New York and New Jersey. In the Southeast and southern Midwest drivers are paying closer to $3 per gallon.
New York drivers are paying $3.88 per gallon, on average, the highest in the country behind Hawaii. Missouri drivers pay the least at $3.15 per gallon.
Natural gas prices are near where they were at the beginning of the month, though trading was volatile. Natural gas rose to nearly $4 per thousand cubic feet for the first time since September of 2011 on expectations of a cold winter and an increase in heating demand.
Then prices tumbled back down this week when forecasters said early December temperatures should be warm and the Energy Department reported that national supplies of natural gas grew at a time when usually they fall.
In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:
— Heating oil finished unchanged at $3.06 per gallon.
— Wholesale gasoline finished unchanged at $2.73 per gallon.