Updated March 24 at 12:29am

Gas falls 2 cents in R.I., Mass.


PROVIDENCE – Gasoline prices in Rhode Island fell by 2 cents over the last week, according to AAA Southern New England, to $3.52 per gallon of self-serve, unleaded regular gas.

The cost now stands at the same level as four weeks ago, according to the trade group, while it stands at 22 cents above the national average of $3.30.

The range of prices shrank from a week ago, ranging from $3.40 to $3.76 per gallon of fuel across the state. Midgrade unleaded fuel averaged $3.74 per gallon, while premium and diesel averaged $3.89 and $4.08 per gallon, respectively.

AAA said that the price for self-serve, unleaded regular gas fell 2 cents in Massachusetts as well, to $3.42 per gallon, 1 cent higher than it was four weeks ago.

The price stood at $3.63 per gallon for midgrade unleaded in the Bay State, as well as $3.76 and $3.99 per gallon for premium unleaded and diesel fuel.

At the same time, Bank of America Corp. repeated its forecast that U.S. crude futures may temporarily collapse to $50 a barrel in the next 24 months because of surging oil production in North America.

The United States and Canada will increase output by 880,000 barrels a day this year, accounting for all of the supply growth outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2013, the bank said in an emailed report. While West Texas Intermediate, trading at about $95 a barrel today, will average $90 this year, prices may plunge by almost 50 percent within two years because of the output boom, it said.

“While non-OPEC oil producers have struggled to mitigate steepening decline rates, crude oil production in the United States has completely bucked the global trend,” Francisco Blanch, the bank’s head of commodities research in New York, said in the report, dated Sunday.

Output from non-OPEC producers outside North America “has dropped at an alarming speed,” and will fall by 180,000 barrels a day this year as output rates decline at aging oil fields, particularly in the North Sea, according to Bank of America.

The difference in supply developments will help maintain an average $20 discount this year of WTI against Brent crude, which will average $110, the bank said.


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