Thursday, August 18, 2005

Oil prices down 5%

Oil prices dropped almost 5% yesterday, although no relief is in sight at the pumps for California motorists.

Crude oil prices fell nearly $3 a barrel Wednesday as new inventory and demand data eased concerns about summertime fuel supplies and traders pocketed profits from the oil market's dramatic run-up in recent weeks.

The September futures contract for light sweet crude, the U.S. benchmark, sank $2.83, or 4.3%, to $63.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The retreat was the largest one-day drop since April and marked the third day in a row of lower prices after crude hit a record high of $66.86 on Friday.

Futures for regular gasoline, an indicator of retail pricing to come, also dropped sharply Wednesday. The cost of a gallon of regular gasoline jumped to an all-time high of $2.03 in early trading, but fell back to close at $1.89, down 9 cents.