The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is nine cents cheaper this week at $2.533 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.
Five Great Lakes and Central States saw gas prices decrease on the week, three of which land on the top 10 list for largest weekly changes: Ohio (-13 cents), Michigan (-8 cents) and Indiana (-8 cents). All other states saw pump prices decrease or increase slightly or hold steady. In the region, gas prices range from $2.20 to $2.66.
The minimal movement at the pump this week is due in part to a substantial 1.4-million-barrel build in gasoline stocks, bringing the regional total to 53.5 million barrels. Stocks have only been this high one other time since the end of March 2019, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.
With regional refinery utilization at 97%, stocks are expected to continue to build and pave the way for cheaper gas prices, but more expensive crude prices could change this forecast.
This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $2.533
Average price during the week of December 30, 2019 $2.620
Average price during the week of January 7, 2019 $1.991
The national gas price average held steady on the week at $2.58, but that could change depending on the movement of crude oil prices due to geopolitical concerns.
Following airstrikes in Baghdad last Friday, which killed Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani, crude oil prices increased, causing market speculation about what could happen to gas prices in the near-term. The incident escalated tension in the region, raising the possibility that global crude supplies could be disrupted.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.87 to settle at $63.05. While crude increases are common when geopolitical concerns arise, it remains to see what the raise in the cost of crude will do the cost at the pump for most Americans.
In related news, the EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories decreased by 11.5 million barrels last week, bringing the total to 429.9 million. The current level is 11.5 million barrels lower than last year’s level at this time.
Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide, and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 78 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.