It's a small world after all, as Bay Area motorists were reminded after the settlement of a 16-day strike by Norwegian oil workers caused global prices to drop sharply Tuesday, promising further relief at the pump.
In Norway, where oil rig roughnecks have names like Øyvind and Audbjørn, the mood was mournful. "It's very sad," said trade union leader Leif Sande. But across Northern California -- where the cost of a gallon of regular has plunged 41 cents in just the past month -- drivers were øverjøyed.
That's because every metropolitan area in the northern part of the state has experienced double-digit price drops. And across California the dip averaged 40 cents -- keeping each gallon of
But considering that prices usually go up as demand increases in the peak summertime travel months, an average of $3.69 for a gallon of regular in San Jose and $3.77 in Oakland was cause for jubilation.
"It's always tough to say where gas prices are going," said Matt Skryja, spokesman for AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah Insurance Exchange, "but certainly the overall trend in most metro areas in Northern California is downward." For now. One unexpected kink in the Norwegian pipeline and prices will ratchet up again. Øy veh!
Demand for oil has weakened because of the slowdown in the global economy, especially in China, but if the supply from Norway -- the world's fifth largest oil producer -- had dried up for much longer, the price would likely have shot up quickly. "I had to make this decision," Labor Minister Hanne Bjurstrom told Reuters, "to protect Norway's vital interests."
And California's, where prices remained stubbornly high -- $3.98 -- in Eureka, which had the highest costs per gallon in the lower 48 states. It cost $4.41 a gallon to gas up in Wailuku, Hawaii -- the highest in the nation -- but the mood, like everything else in Wailuku, remained considerably brighter than in Norway.
Contact Bruce Newman at 408-920-5004. Follow him at Twitter.com/brucenewmantwit.