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Fuel prices continued to rise at the pump last week amid turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a AAA Auto Club South Fuel Gauge Report, but the earthquake in Japan could lead to lower prices.

The price of crude oil settled Friday to close at $101.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange – $3.26 less than the previous week and the first drop in a month.

South Florida’s latest prices:

  • In Fort Lauderdale, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline hit $3.636, up from $3.588 a week earlier and $2.877 a year earlier. Mid-grade averaged $3.793, premium averaged $3.898 and diesel averaged $3.938.
  • In Miami, regular was $3.644, up from $3.601 a weak earlier and $2.898 a year earlier. Mid-grade averaged $3.787, premium averaged $3.89 and diesel averaged $3.934.
  • In West Palm Beach/Boca Raton, regular was $3.668, up from $3.629 a week earlier and $2.915 a year earlier. Mid-grade averaged $3.836, premium averaged $3.939 and diesel averaged $3.965.

Oil prices were pushed lower after news Japan may experience a significant drop in demand for weeks to come. The “day of rage” that was expected to happen in Saudi Arabia never occurred, which also helped to push oil prices lower.

“Oil prices typically move higher when a natural disaster occurs that forces oil refineries to shut down, but Japan’s oil demand is expected to see such a significant drop, that it actually pushed prices lower,” said Jessica Brady, manager of public relations for AAA Auto Club South. “The fact that the ‘day of rage’ expected in Saudi Arabia never occurred was a positive, since it surely would have pushed oil prices higher.” …

Fuel prices continued to rise at the pump last week amid turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a AAA Auto Club South Fuel Gauge Report, but the earthquake in Japan could lead to lower prices.

The price of crude oil settled Friday to close at $101.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange – $3.26 less than the previous week and the first drop in a month.

South Florida’s latest prices:

  • In Fort Lauderdale, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline hit $3.636, up from $3.588 a week earlier and $2.877 a year earlier. Mid-grade averaged $3.793, premium averaged $3.898 and diesel averaged $3.938.
  • In Miami, regular was $3.644, up from $3.601 a weak earlier and $2.898 a year earlier. Mid-grade averaged $3.787, premium averaged $3.89 and diesel averaged $3.934.
  • In West Palm Beach/Boca Raton, regular was $3.668, up from $3.629 a week earlier and $2.915 a year earlier. Mid-grade averaged $3.836, premium averaged $3.939 and diesel averaged $3.965.

Oil prices were pushed lower after news Japan may experience a significant drop in demand for weeks to come. The “day of rage” that was expected to happen in Saudi Arabia never occurred, which also helped to push oil prices lower.

“Oil prices typically move higher when a natural disaster occurs that forces oil refineries to shut down, but Japan’s oil demand is expected to see such a significant drop, that it actually pushed prices lower,” said Jessica Brady, manager of public relations for AAA Auto Club South. “The fact that the ‘day of rage’ expected in Saudi Arabia never occurred was a positive, since it surely would have pushed oil prices higher.”

Brady expects retail gas prices will remain relatively stable, or possibly even drop a penny or two.

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