Gas prices down slightly in Mid-Atlantic
Gasoline inventories remain high regionally and the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) reports that the healthy supply should keep prices relatively stable as the market prepares for the transition to summer-blend gasoline.
Overall, increased U.S. oil production continues to counter OPEC rebalancing efforts.
“At a time when gas prices typically experience a seasonal uptick, that increase has stalled, which is welcome news for motorists” said Tammy Arnette, Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Though crude oil prices have leveled off, which typically halts pump price increases, seasonal refinery maintenance and the switchover to summer blend gasoline will likely reverse this trend in the weeks ahead.”
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was down nine percent ($4.84) to settle at $48.49 per barrel. Crude oil dropped below the $50 per barrel mark this week for the first time since December. Oil production in the U.S. continues to rise. Globally, the Russian energy ministry released oil production data showing that their oil production has remained unchanged as compared to last month. This information has unsettled traders and many speculate whether or not Russia will thwart efforts by OPEC to rebalance global oil supply.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. monthly average regular gasoline retail prices to increase from $2.30 per gallon in February 2017 to $2.51 per gallon in July before falling to $2.24 per gallon by December. U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.40 per gallon in 2017 and $2.44 per gallon in 2018. EIA forecasts WTI crude oil prices are expected to average $54 per barrel in 2017.