Gas prices should be stabilizing soon: AAA

gas pricesGas prices fluctuated this week across some regions of the Mid-Atlantic due to repairs to the Colonial Pipeline in Alabama and localized supply disruptions in the Southeastern U.S.

Repairs to the leaking pipeline were completed and the pipeline reopened Wednesday evening. The company has estimated that 252,000 to 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from the line and it will take several days for fuel supplies to return to normal in markets served by the pipeline.

“Many parts of the Mid-Atlantic region continue to feel the effects of the Colonial Pipeline leak, as gas prices in some areas have jumped double-digits per gallon in the past week alone,” said Tammy Arnette, Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As the pipeline’s gasoline flow returns to normal capacity, pump prices in the region should drop.”

The national average for regular unleaded gasoline today is $2.21, a penny higher than one week ago, a penny higher than a month ago and just 8 cents lower than this same date last year.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed up $1.03 from last week to settle at $44.48 per barrel. Wednesday’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States shows that crude oil inventories decreased by 6.2 million barrels to a total of 504.6 million barrels, yet remain 50.6 million barrels above last year (11.2%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Traders will continue to keep an eye on the Colonial Pipeline repairs and the OPEC member meeting later this month. Pump prices are expected to trend lower in the following weeks and months as gas stations have transitioned to winter-blend gasoline and the demand for gasoline drops.  AAA predicts that consumers could experience national average prices below $2.00 at the pump if the price of crude oil remains relatively low and refineries are able to conduct planned seasonal maintenance without issue.

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