The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations fell for the first time in 11 weeks according to government data showed on Monday.
West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark crude, gave up 85 cents to end at $102.46 per barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell by 76 cents to finish at $122.67 per barrel.
On average, U.S. pump prices declined to $3.939 per gallon, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. They were down less than a penny, after finishing the week to April 2 at an average $3.941 per gallon.
In the Chicago area, the average price of unleaded regular gas Monday was $4.34 a gallon, down 17 cents from the record high of $4.506 reached March 27 and down 11 cents from April 2, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service.
“Gasoline prices in the hardest-hit areas have finally shown signs of relief with prices falling now in Chicago as they have for a few weeks in California,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.
“We may see an earlier peak than we have in prior years.”
The decline is attributed to a Friday report of lackluster U.S. job growth in March, lessening tensions between the United States and Iran as well as an increase in refinery production.
Retail consumption this year through March 30 was 5.6 percent lower than the same period in 2011, according to MasterCard Inc. (MA)’s SpendingPulse report on April 3. Fuel use over the previous four weeks was 5.9 percent lower than a year earlier, a record 54th consecutive decline.