Gas prices holding steady in Virginia

pumpingasDespite slight upticks recently, the national gas price average has stabilized and even dipped slightly lower this week.  Today’s national average of $2.26 represents a six-cent decrease per gallon compared to one week ago.

Gas prices in Virginia are down on average one to three cents a gallon across the state. On the whole, pump prices remain discounted across the country, and drivers are saving an average of 4 cents per gallon month-over-month, and 87 cents per gallon year-over-year.  The refinery maintenance season is reportedly nearing its peak, and the national average has been relatively stable since September 16, when the switchover to winter-blended gasoline took place.

Domestic (WTI) crude oil prices have traded in the mid-$40 per barrel range since September.  Stability in the crude oil market has translated to stability at the gas pump.  WTI closed out Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX at $47.26, down $2.37 on the week.

“Despite the regional fluctuations in price, year-over-year discounts continue across the country,” said Martha Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Before the end of the year, drivers could still see the national average fall below $2 per gallon for the first time since 2009, assuming crude oil prices don’t increase and there are no unexpected disruptions to supply.

The national average price of gas has fallen in October for three years in a row. Gas prices typically drop in October due to a seasonal decline in both driving and fuel demand. While driving is expected to remain relatively strong because of low gas prices, we would expect driving to decline from summertime highs through the end of the year based on typical seasonal trends. A seasonal demand decline would result in lower gas prices, absent any disruption in production or uptick in crude oil prices.