Gas demand hits lowest level in nearly two years, pushing gas prices even lower

aaaThe latest Energy Information Administration data registers gasoline demand at 8.6 million b/d for the week ending Dec. 28 – the lowest level on record since February 2017.

Despite record motor vehicle travel for the holiday, demand was down nearly 900,000 bbl, suggesting that demand this winter could be lower than expected.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.24 and has declined for 12 weeks in a row. The national average is three-cents cheaper on the week, 20-cents cheaper than last month and 25-cents cheaper year-over-year.

“An oversupplied global crude market has resulted in oil prices continuing to drop,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA.  “This is great news for drivers especially here in Virginia as many areas are selling gas prices below $2 per gallon.”

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 87 cents to settle at $47.96. Oil prices were volatile last week, as market observers continue to believe that the global crude market is oversupplied. Moreover, analysts are also wary of the impact a potential economic slowdown in 2019 could have on global crude oil demand. In the coming weeks, market observers will look for indications that OPEC’s global pact with large non-OPEC crude producers (including Russia) will reduce crude production by 1.2 million b/d for at least the first six months of 2019, which may help reduce the growing global glut of crude. In turn, this could drive up crude oil prices and, subsequently, gas prices.

In related news, EIA’s latest weekly petroleum status report revealed that total domestic crude inventories held steady for the second week at 441.4 million bbl. Domestic crude production also held steady for a second week at a record high of 11.7 million b/d. Steady inventories amid high production underscores how oversupplied the market currently is, while demand for gasoline remains at a two-year low. Additionally, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. lost eight oilrigs last week, bringing the current total of active oilrigs to 877. When compared to the total number of active rigs at this time last year, there are 135 more rigs this year.

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.


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