NEW YORK -- Gasoline prices hit a record at the pump yesterday, but gas futures prices fell on concerns that $3 gas will crimp demand.
Oil prices, meanwhile, rose on reports of refinery problems in the United States and abroad.
The average national price of a gallon of gas hit $3.073 yesterday, up almost a penny from Sunday's also record-setting price, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Gasoline is now well above the previous record of $3.057, set on Sept. 5, 2005, soon after Hurricane Katrina.
But gasoline futures for June delivery fell 5.09 cents to settle at $2.3012 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Light, sweet crude for June delivery rose 9 cents to settle at $62.46 a barrel on the Nymex.
Chip Hodge, energy portfolio manager at John Hancock Financial Securities in Boston, thinks gasoline futures traders may be reacting to the fact that pump prices are setting new records.
"You just get a feeling that $3 a gallon. . . . It's got to have an impact from a demand standpoint," Hodge said. "So, maybe there's a little bit of a selloff on those pressures."
While oil prices rose on the day, they settled well off their earlier highs on news that Chevron Corp. plans to restart a 42,000 barrels-per-day Nigerian oil facility, said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago.
"There was good news out of Nigeria after a lot of bad news," Flynn said. "They're pumping oil again."