Gas prices rising nearing holiday travel season

gas pricesGas prices across the Mid-Atlantic region continue to be higher than this time last year, but in many regions are staying relatively stagnant week over week. Today’s national average of $2.24 per gallon is up three cents per gallon on the week, nine cents per gallon on the month and 24 cents per gallon compared to the same date last year.

“Crude oil has closed above $50 all this week, preventing gas prices from taking their usual seasonal downward plunge,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As the holidays approach and millions of Americans get ready to drive to their holiday destination, gas prices will be higher than last year but still under the price they paid two years ago.”

Retail prices have steadily increased following the news of the OPEC agreement, but the effectiveness of the deal and continued market impacts will hinge on all countries implementing the agreed to production levels. OPEC countries agreed to reduce production by about 1.2 million barrels per day while non-OPEC countries agreed to lower production by nearly 560,000 barrels per day.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil closed up 40 cents from last week to settle at $51.90 per barrel. This is $8.49 higher than one year ago. OPEC estimates that the world’s oil market will rebalance in the second half of 2017, a later scenario than laid out this week by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which predicts a surplus in the first six months if producers stick to agreed cuts.

Holiday travel figures are poised to break records across the country with more than 103 million Americans planning to journey 50 miles or more away from home. The vast majority of travelers – 93.6 million people or 91 percent of all holiday travelers – will take a holiday road trip, an increase of 1.5 percent over last year.

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