The national average retail price for regular gasoline has fallen for three consecutive weeks for the first time since December, reading $3.87 per gallon on April 23, seven cents per gallon lower than the 2012 peak of $3.94 per gallon on April 2. While global oil markets remain tight, some easing has occurred in recent weeks. Evidence of this easing can be seen in decreases in prompt prices for crude oil, reduced backwardation in the Brent futures curve, and accompanying builds in U.S. crude oil inventories, particularly in the important Gulf Coast (PADD 3) market.

The retreat in global crude prices came after the Brent spot price reached its year-to-date peak of $128 per barrel on March 13. Since that time, the Brent spot price fell about $10 per barrel to about $118 per barrel on April 20.