AAA: Increasing crude oil prices push gas prices to highest level since 2014
Mid-Atlantic motorists continue to see gas prices take a bite out of their budget, as some local averages gain as much as six cents in the last seven days. Gasoline inventories dropped this week, while demand for gas is expected to increase for the Memorial Day holiday next week. In addition, the price of oil (the biggest stressor on pump prices) remains above $71 per barrel, $20 more than this time last year.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.92, which is up five cents in the last week, up 17 cents in the last month and 57 cents higher than this time last year.
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $71.28 per barrel, up 58 cents from the previous week. Oil prices climbed to new highs for 2018 last week, following President Trump’s decision to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran and withdraw the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal. Set in 2015, the deal lifted economic sanctions in exchange for Iran downsizing its nuclear program. Some of the pre-2015 sanctions targeted the Iranian energy sector and impeded Iran’s ability to sell oil. With those sanctions being re-imposed in the next 3-6 months, Iran’s crude exports are forecasted to decrease, contributing to already declining global crude supplies amid growing global demand. Increased fears of instability in the region may push oil prices even higher.
“The unofficial start of summer is less than a week away and motorists are gearing up to take to the roads,” said Tammy Arnette, senior public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Though prices at the pump are likely to be the highest since 2014, AAA is projecting the highest Memorial Day holiday weekend travel volume since 2005.”
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest gas prices since 2014, the vast majority of holiday travelers (88 percent) are still planning to hit the road. Automobile travel will grow by 4.7 percent this Memorial Day, with 36.6 million Americans planning a road trip. In total, AAA projects that nearly 42 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. That is two million more travelers than last year taking to the roads, skies, rails and water, creating the highest Memorial Day travel volume in more than a dozen years. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28.
AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:
- Fuel Price Finder (http://www.AAA.com/
fuelfinder) locates the lowest fuel price in your area.
- AAA Gas Cost Calculator (http://gasprices.
aaa.com/aaa-gas-cost- calculator/) helps budget travel expenses.
- TripTik Mobile (http://www.aaa.com/
mobile) plots fuel prices along your travel route.
- AAA’s Member Rewards Visa® Credit Card (http://www.AAA.com/
financial/AAAvisa.htm) accumulates double points on fuel purchases.