CINCINNATI — Gasoline demand surged last week which would typically push pump prices higher but economic concerns related to the COVID-19 omicron variant caused oil prices to wobble, so gas prices continued their downward trend.
“A recovering economy coupled with strong employment is leading to increased demand for gasoline,” says Kara Hitchens, AAA spokesperson. “This demand increase should drive pump prices higher, but any potential increase was blunted by the wavering price of crude oil.”
The national average for a gallon of gas dipped three cents on the week to $3.30, 11 cents less than a month ago and $1.09 more than a year ago.
Here in Ohio, the average price of gas today is $3.04, down 5 cents on the week, 19 cents in a month but still 95 cents higher than last year on this date. There are many stations recording gasoline under $3.
According to recent data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 700,000 bbl to 218.6 million bbl last week. Meanwhile, gasoline demand increased from 8.96 million b/d to 9.47 million b/d.
Typically, growing demand and tight supply would support rising pump prices; however, fluctuations in the price of crude oil have helped to put downward pressure on prices. Last week, crude prices crept above $70 per barrel and if oil prices continue to climb, pump prices will likely follow suit.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.52 to settle at $70.86.
Crude prices declined last week due to growing market concerns that the omicron variant of COVID-19 will lead to a decrease in demand as governments around the globe increase measures to curb transmission rates.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app can also map a route, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.