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Pump prices fell in Jan. as US drivers stayed home

January 31, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — If it’s any consolation, the wicked weather of January helped lower the price of gasoline.

AAA said Friday that the U.S. average for a gallon of gasoline fell 4 cents this month to $3.28 (86 cents a liter). The snow, ice and frigid air that buffeted much of the country kept American drivers off the road, lowering fuel demand and suppressing pump prices, said AAA spokesman Avery Ash in a statement.

The price of other fuels rose, largely due to the weather. Natural gas, used for heat by almost half of U.S. residences, rose 17 percent for the month to $4.94 per 1,000 cubic feet. The price hit a four-year high of $5.56 per 1,000 cubic feet on Wednesday.

Heating oil futures spiked to $3.28 a gallon as the Northeast endured snowstorms and bone-chilling cold. While the gain for the month was 6.5 percent, the price soared 34 cents, or 12 percent, after Jan. 14. And increased demand for heating oil boosted the price of crude oil. Oil finished January with a small loss — 93 cents — but it rose $5.83, or 6.4 percent, after Jan. 9.

Benchmark crude oil for March delivery fell 74 cents to close at $97.49 a barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude fell $1.55 to $106.40 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, fell 4 percent for the month.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline retreated 4 cents to $2.63 a gallon.

— Heating oil futures rose 6 cents to $3.28 a gallon.

— Natural gas futures lost 7 cents to $4.94 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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