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Mid-Atlantic gas prices continue decline: National average up this week

gas pricesMid-Atlantic gas prices continue a slow decline, with areas in Virginia breaking the sub-$1.50 barrier.

Today’s national average price of $1.75 per gallon reflects a weekly increase of 4 cents even though gasoline continues to hover at s, largely due to abundant supplies and low crude oil costs.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up $3.14 compared to last week to settle at $32.78 per barrel. Throughout the week, WTI closed each day above the $30 mark as oil inventories and production continued to climb. On Tuesday, oil giant Saudi Arabia refused to cut production to boost prices, while Iran sent its first crude oil shipment to Europe, after a five-year economic sanction, increasing oil in an already oversupplied global market. It is unlikely that a production freeze near current levels, a tactic discussed by OPEC members last week, would have any effect on reducing abundant global supplies.

“Basic economics are in play here: Soaring supplies and lower demand, plus low crude costs, equal lower pump prices,” said Martha Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “The effects of refinery maintenance season and summer-blend gasoline will fight it out with continuing low crude oil prices to determine whether our prices remain as low as they have been.”

Gas prices are likely to move higher heading into the spring refinery maintenance season; however prices should remain lower than recent years. Refineries conducting maintenance will produce less fuel, though ample gasoline supply and lower-than-expected prices for crude oil should limit any seasonal price spikes.



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