March 23, 2015 11:00 AM, EDT

Gasoline Prices Slide as Crude Oil Falls to Six-Year Low

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

U.S. retail gasoline prices in the Lundberg Survey dropped as crude oil fell to the lowest level in six years.

The average price of regular gasoline at U.S. pumps declined 3.93 cents in the two weeks ended March 20 to $2.4991 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc. The survey is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company.

Gasoline fell as oil, which makes up a majority of the fuel’s cost, dropped last week to the lowest level since 2009. Lower crude prices in combination with strong gasoline output from U.S. refineries contributed to the decline, according to Trilby Lundberg, the president of Lundberg Survey.

“Oil and gas supplies are so ample and more than sufficient to accommodate U.S. gasoline demand,” Lundberg said in a telephone interview March 22. Prices at the pump “could drop by a few more pennies per gallon.”

The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 states among the markets surveyed was in Los Angeles, at $3.29 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Charleston, South Carolina, where customers paid an average $2.11 a gallon. Regular gasoline averaged $2.53 a gallon on Long Island, New York.

West Texas Intermediate crude lost 52 cents to $46.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on March 16 at 12:20 p.m. London time. The U.S. benchmark priced in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell 7.8% in the two weeks to March 20. It reached $43.46 on March 17, the lowest close since March 11, 2009.

U.S. oil output has kept rising, reaching 9.42 million barrels a day in the seven days ended March 13, the highest level in weekly Energy Information Administration data dating back to 1983. Crude inventories rose to 458.5 million barrels, also the highest weekly level on record.

U.S. refineries ran at 88.1% of capacity in the week ended March 13, up from 87.8% a week earlier, EIA data show.