NEW YORK - Oil futures retreated yesterday on a widening belief that OPEC ministers will agree to raise crude production during a meeting next week. The falling dollar helped limit crude's decline.
At the pump, meanwhile, gasoline prices were up another 2 cents per gallon in Massachusetts, topping the $3 per gallon mark for the first time in six months. Prices were up for the sixth consecutive week in a statewide survey by AAA of Southern New England. The survey found an average price of $3.01 for a gallon of regular, self-serve gasoline. That compares with $2.99 one week ago.
Elsewhere, gas prices fell further from their recent highs now that Thanksgiving travel demand has faded. The average national price of a gallon of gas slipped 0.1 cent overnight to $3.085 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, and is off 2.7 cents in less than two weeks.
Analysts say gas prices are likely to hold steady or even fall unless oil prices rise to $100 a barrel or higher. But crude's ascendancy has been stymied in recent weeks in part by conflicting signals from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries officials about the cartel's willingness to add supplies to the global oil market.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery fell 48 cents to $97.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Some analysts predict oil prices will fall at some point this year. The question they debate is whether that will happen before or after oil reaches $100.