AAA: Gas prices back on the rise

gas pricesGas prices across the Mid-Atlantic region have resumed their upward climb following days of inactivity. The increase is the result of ongoing tension in the Middle East offsetting U.S. crude oil production and inventory. Prices are expected to inch slightly higher as the May 1 deadline to switch over to summer-blend gasoline at the pumps approaches.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.71, which is up 5 cents in the last week, up 18 cents in the last month and 30 cents higher than this time last year. The average has now passed the 2017 peak of $2.67 per gallon, which occurred in September following Hurricane Harvey’s landfall.

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $67.39 per barrel, up $5.33 from the previous week. Although crude oil production and inventory quantities in the U.S. rose this week, the possible impact on supply from Middle East tension continues to loom. Also weighing on prices are shrinking global inventories of crude oil and the expectation of a supply cut extension from OPEC nations aimed at shrinking the glut of global crude oil supplies.

“After a week or so of relative stability, gas prices are creeping up nationally and in the Delaware Valley,” said Tammy Arnette, senior public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Warmer spring weather, coupled with the uncertain direction of oil prices and the switchover to (more expensive) summer-blend gasoline, will likely send pump prices higher as we approach Memorial Day.”

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that for the summer driving season (April to September) motorists will pay an average of $2.74 per gallon for regular gasoline, the highest average summer gasoline price in four years. This forecasted price is 26 cents per gallon higher than the average price last summer ($2.41 per gallon), largely reflecting changes in crude oil prices.  For all of 2018, EIA expects U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.64 per gallon.

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:

         
 

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