Has the gas price drop stopped?

gas pricesAs the Mid-Atlantic region continues to battle Old Man Winter, some motorists have seen gas prices remain relatively steady – but not in Virginia. Prices in many regions across the state are up as much as seven cents compared to last week. 

Today’s national gas price average is $2.54, which is up a penny in the last week, up a penny in the last month and 25 cents higher than this time last year. 

Consumers are starting to see prices rising at the pump,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Although strong crude and gasoline output has kept a lid on a price jump recently, high demand for gas continues its streak and refineries continue to dial down for maintenance and switch to summer blend gasoline, leading to an already visible increase in local prices.” 

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $62.34 per barrel, up 30 cents from the previous week. Prices have remained relatively static over the week and have not much moved higher than $61.36 (Monday’s closing price). Crude oil prices could increase following the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) warning Thursday that oil demand could outstrip supply despite the ramp up in shale output. The IEA reported global demand for oil should grow by an average 99.3 million barrels in 2018, an increase over last month’s reported forecast.  

This week’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed total gasoline inventories are down 6.3 million barrels. One cause leading to the draw was the beginning of a purge in winter gasoline from storage tanks in several regions. One impressive figure from the EIA report was for gasoline demand, which came in last week at 9.642 million barrels per day. This demand figure was the highest since the week ending Aug. 25, and nearly 400,000 barrels per day over the same time last year.  

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