Oil prices slipped about 1 percent to $82.55 Wednesday after weak retail sales showed continued weakness in the U.S. economy.
If consumers aren’t shopping, they aren’t likely to be driving.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday retail spending slipped 0.2 percent in May, following an identical decline in April. That’s a sign consumers are pulling back, which could in turn lead to lower consumption of gasoline and crude oil.
Oil markets are awaiting the outcome of a meeting Thursday of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The group could decide to restrict production in an effort to reverse a decline in the price of crude. Oil has fallen 24 percent since late February.
U.S. retail gasoline prices fell less than a penny to $3.539 per gallon.