Spike in U.S. oil production pushes gas prices down

gas pricesGas prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have followed the national average downward over the past week as U.S. oil production increases.

Today’s national average price of $2.28 per gallon represents a decrease of three cents per gallon on the week, two cents per gallon on the month, and an increase of 47 cents per gallon as compared to one year ago.  This downward trend in pump prices is typical for winter months, as demand is down due to cold and stormy weather.

“Gas prices throughout the Mid-Atlantic region continue to follow the national trend of a slow, steady decrease,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Gas prices are expected to start rising again as refinery maintenance season shifts into high gear and the switch to summer blend fuels occurs in late winter.”

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil closed down 5 cents over last week to settle at $53.17 per barrel. At last Sunday’s OPEC meeting, energy ministers announced that the cartel has successfully limited oil output with participating countries cutting production by 1.5 million barrels per day.

Eleven of OPEC’s 13 members along with 11 non-OPEC countries struck an agreement last November to cut production collectively by 1.8 million barrels per day for the first six months of 2017. U.S. oil production is somewhat offsetting OPEC’s cuts. This week’s EIA reports showed total U.S. crude output edged up by 17,000 barrels a day to 8.961 million barrels a day last week.

Analysts will keep a close eye on how OPEC output cuts and increased U.S. production impact the market moving forward. End-of-month industry shipping and export data, set to be released in the next two weeks, could determine if OPEC and non-OPEC producers are meeting their individual quotas.

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