Monthly and yearly savings persist and drivers are saving six cents on the month and 65 cents on the year. Gas prices are moving higher in many parts of the country as refinery maintenance season gets underway and as some refineries cut production in response to abundant supplies.
Plus, the shift has begun to the government-mandated, warm-weather gasoline blends which use fuel additives that burn cleaner but cost more.
Crude oil prices are showing a bit more strength. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI settled at $35.92 per barrel. This price point represents a weekly gain of more than $3 per barrel. Global crude oil supply remains front and center and the price of oil continues to swing in response to shifting expectations of future supply and demand. The world’s top oil producing nations recently considered potential agreements that would freeze production levels to stabilize prices, however any agreement faces significant headwinds as countries look to fill budget deficits by producing oil at higher levels.
“Swings in gas prices at the regional level are typical for this time of year as many refineries conduct maintenance in advance of the busy summer driving season,” said Martha Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Despite these seasonal increases, abundant gasoline supplies and lower crude oil costs should keep gas prices from rising as high as drivers have seen in recent years.”
Even though gasoline prices may average over the $2 per gallon mark during this year’s summer driving season, prices will be much less than in years past. Last year, gas prices peaked in June at $2.80 a gallon. Continued lower oil prices, despite a recent hike, will keep pump prices low.