Area motorists see slight relief at pump

Northeast Ohio gas prices dropped a half-cent to $3.727 per gallon this week. This price is about 4 cents less than it was one month ago today, according to AAA automotive club.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.658. This price is 3 cents less than one week ago, 12 cents less expensive than one month ago and 24 cents less than the average price one year ago.

It is too soon to say whether retail prices have peaked for the spring because refinery maintenance and transition to summer gasoline blend is continuing nationwide. However, with the national average falling further below the year-ago price, AAA continues to predict that the national average will crest lower than recent years, AAA reported.

Oil markets kept a wary eye on signs of economic instability overseas last week, following discussions of a 10 billion euro bailout package for Cyprus. While that country accounts for just 0.2 percent of the economic activity in the eurozone, there were some concerns that instability could spread to other economies if an agreement was not reached.

Following news over the weekend that a bailout deal had been agreed to, crude oil prices moved higher Monday. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled up $1.26 at $93.71 per barrel.