Gasoline prices continue to fall, which could be a small counterweight to fiscal cliff effects. The national average price of a gallon of regular dropped to $3.248 yesterday, according to AAA Fuel Gauge. That is down from $3.340 a week ago, and $3.422 a month ago. That price is virtually even with the year-ago price — before gas made its run toward the $4 level.
The retreat in oil prices should promise a sharper drop in gas prices well into 2013. Crude is just above $86, which is down from $95 three months ago. The only factor that might pressure oil up is an apparent recovery in the Chinese market, but no one knows whether that will be long-lived or is just a temporary bump.
A preliminary purchasing managers’ index showed manufacturing in China expanded at a faster pace this month. Syrian fighter jets bombed a Palestinian camp in Damascus, reviving concern that unrest in the Middle East may spread to oil-producing countries.
Douglas A. McIntyre