AAA: Gas prices up 12 cents over the past two weeks
Gas prices are edging up across the country as the market continues to purge winter-blend gasoline to make room for summer storage. At $2.66, the national gas price average is 5-cents more expensive on the week and 11-cents more expensive than two weeks ago.
“Right now we are seeing the market starting to purge winter-blend gasoline to make room for summer-blend,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA. “The holiday weekend, strong demand and preparation for summer gasoline are all factors that have driven and will continue to drive higher gas prices into early spring.”
In spite of price fluctuations, gasoline demand fell to 9.2 b/d according to the latest Energy Information Administration data – the lowest point for the month of March, but remains strong for this time of year.
Pump prices are up as much as 7 cents across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region on the week. Pennsylvania (+7 cents) and Maine (+6 cents) saw the largest increases. Pennsylvania ($2.86) and Washington, D.C. ($2.83) carry the most expensive prices while Virginia ($2.47) and Tennessee ($2.46) sell the least expensive.
Compared to one year ago, Tennessee (+39 cents), Maine (+38 cents), New Jersey (+37 cents) and Massachusetts (+36 cents) motorists are paying significantly more to fill up at the pump.
With a 3.3 million bbl draw, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region saw the largest drop in inventory on the week, according to EIA data. At 56 million bbl in total, inventories sit 10 million bbl below this time last year.
The NYMEX was closed on Friday due to the holiday. On Thursday, WTI increased 56 cents to settle at $64.94. The increase was led by Baker Hughes active rig count report that revealed the U.S. dropped seven active rigs last week, bringing the total to 797. Price gains were tempered by EIA’s weekly report showing that total crude oil inventories grew by 1.5 million bbl last week. Moreover, domestic crude hit another top record for weekly production at 10.4 million b/d. If this week’s EIA report shows another inventory build, driven by record-setting oil production, prices may move lower as it may signal that global crude supplies may be on the rise again.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.