Gasoline prices have plunged more than 40 cents a gallon to $1.15 since the September 11 terrorist attacks, reaching a two-year low, according to the Lundberg Survey of about 8,000 stations nationwide.
Oil prices may fall further if OPEC doesn't form an alliance with rival independent oil-producing countries for global oil output curbs aimed at lifting world crude prices. Cartel ministers lobbied independent producers to push for the full 500,000 barrel-a-day cut that OPEC has wanted as a condition for triggering its own supply curbs, OPEC sources told the media.
On the other hand, prices may rise if military action in the Middle East spreads to any oil-producing nations, analyst Trilby Lundberg said.
Crude oil for January delivery fell as much as 76 cents to $18.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have plunged by a third since September 11, which deepened the recession and curbed U.S. energy demand. In London, Brent crude oil for January settlement fell as much as 87 cents, or 4.6%, to $18.16 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange.