Gas prices continue downward push: How long will it last?
Local gas prices continue to decrease across the Mid-Atlantic region, although not as much as last week. As of today, Virginia has dropped three cents on the week versus last week when prices had dipped by four cents. The combination of crude oil prices remaining above $61 all week and some regional refineries starting maintenance operations will cause less gasoline to be available for consumption and a coming increase in pump prices.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.52, which is down a penny in the last week, down four cents in the last month and 23 cents higher than this time last year.
“While motorists may see additional discounts at the pump this week, this downward trend will come to end,” said Tammy Arnette, senior public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA expects gas prices to increase 25 to 35 cents between March and May, as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance and switch to summer-blend gasoline.”
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $63.55 per barrel, up $1.87 from the previous week. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), crude oil inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels, leaving inventories below last year’s totals. Inventories usually rise at this time of year, as many refineries cut crude intake to conduct maintenance.
Looking for a revenue source for its $200 billion infrastructure investment plan, the Trump administration suggested this week it could support a tax on drivers for the amount of miles they drive. Earlier this month the President told lawmakers in a private meeting he would support raising the federal gas tax (currently 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel) for the first time since 1993. The administration was still looking at the pros and cons of different ways to pay for infrastructure.