Crude prices drop nearly $2 per barrel
Crude prices were lower again Friday, with declines coming on a disappointing report on US jobs from the Labor Department there.
While the unemployment rate held steady at 9.5 percent nationally in July, 131,000 jobs were lost to the economy overall as a number of temporary census jobs ended, against a predicted decline of 65,000, and the private sector added just 71,000 jobs, fewer than had been expected.
The bad news on employment called the health of the US economic recovery into question and raised fears that demand will not recover as had been hoped.
September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude was down $1.86 to $80.15 per barrel in afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was most recently down $1.97 to $79.64 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Nymex September gasoline futures fell 7 cents to $2.09 per gallon while September heating oil futures were down 5 cents to $2.14 per gallon and September natural gas futures dropped 11 cents to $4.49 million British thermal units.
US drivers paid more at the pump as the retail price of regular unleaded gasoline added just over 1 cent to $2.779 per gallon on average nationally.
Five states, all in the Western US, currently have average prices over $3 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, with Alaska the most expensive at an average $3.554 per gallon, while drivers in Hawaii are paying an average of $3.498 per gallon, California residents are shelling out an average of $3.162 per gallon, drivers in Washington are paying around $3.114 per gallon and the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Oregon averages $3.027 per gallon.
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