AAA: Gas prices continue upward push
Consumers accustomed to seeing gas prices dip in January are wondering if, and when, that break will arrive at local gas stations. Local and national gas prices continued to climb this week, indicating that 2018 may bring higher gas prices compared to the year prior.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.58, which is up four cents in the last week, up 12 cents in the last month and 30 cents higher than this time last year.
“Since 2014, gas prices decreased as much as 20 cents in the first three weeks of the year,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This year, gas prices are nine cents more than they were on Jan. 1, a possible indication that prices in 2018 will likely be more expensive than last year.”
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $66.14 per barrel, $2.77 cents higher than the previous week and rising $2.24 since Monday’s close. Market observers are looking for indications that growth in the global crude market has slowed, but the U.S. has bucked that trend. In fact, U.S. producers are seizing the higher petroleum prices to grow global market share – evidenced by crude exports increasing. This growth potentially stalls efforts by OPEC and major crude producers to rebalance the market (by cutting production through the end of 2018).
Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC, the U.S. East Coast’s largest refinery operator filed a bankruptcy plan Monday to reorganize its massive debt. Since then, the company has secured funding and assurances in order to ensure normal operations, which likely helped ease some fears about the state of East Coast market supply ahead of the busy spring gasoline season.