Foodservice Equipment Reports

Slumping Crude Pushes Gas Prices Lower Again; Menu Prices Continue to Rise

Just when it seemed the drop in gasoline prices had reversed itself, another drop in prices for crude oil has pushed gas prices down again. Crude oil prices reached a 6-year low in mid-March and have remained flat or lower since. According to data from the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.427 on March 27, up slightly from the day before, even with the week prior and 5.4 cents more than a month ago. Average gas prices remain $1.10 lower than this time in 2014.

Gas prices also were affected by a number of refineries coming back online after seasonal maintenance and the switch to summer blends, increasing supply. In the global market for crude oil, production continues to outstrip demand. The prospect of a deal on nuclear development with Iran also has raised the possibility of increased supply.

Meanwhile, food prices at the consumer level, as tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, rose 0.2% in February, after being flat in January. Menu prices continued to increase faster than food-at-home prices. Menu prices rose 0.3% in February, while grocery prices rose only 0.1%. For the past 12 months, menu prices were up 3.1% while grocery prices rose 2.9%. As previously reported, wholesale food prices fell for the fourth consecutive month in February.

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