Gas prices drip down just a bit


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CINCINNATI – At $2.86, the national average has decreased week-over-week for the first time since November of last year.

Monday’s average is two cents cheaper on the week. Since last Monday, 45 states also saw their averages decrease or no change at the pump. On the week, Ohio gas prices have decreased three cents to an average of $2.63 per gallon.

“Growing stock levels and cheaper crude oil prices are putting downward pressure on pump prices for the majority of motorists,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “These are positive signs that less expensive gas prices could be around the corner, but not enough to indicate a steady trend just yet.”

Demand is one factor influencing gas prices. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week that demand was up by 174,000 b/d to 8.6 million b/d. That reading is just 222,000 b/d short of levels one year ago, when demand started to dip.

If demand continues to increase, prices could follow. Gasoline stocks also saw a moderate increase with a build of 200,000 b/d. However, refinery utilization hit 82% indicating we could see a larger build in stocks this week, a factor that could help keep pump prices in check.

While a few cents cheaper on the week, the national gas price average is 15 cents more expensive on the month and 84 cents more expensive on the year. Those gaps, as well as stock levels and demand readings, are likely to widen in coming weeks as this time last year gas prices and related factors started to take a sharp turn due to the pandemic.

Quick stats

• The nation’s top 10 most expensive averages: California ($3.87), Hawaii ($3.64), Washington ($3.32), Nevada ($3.31), Oregon ($3.17), Utah ($3.15), Alaska ($3.11), Arizona ($3.09), Washington, D.C. ($3.03) and Idaho ($3.03)

• The nation’s top 10 weekly changes: Kentucky (−6 cents), Delaware (−6 cents), Hawaii (+5 cents), North Carolina (−4 cents), Idaho (+4 cents), Maryland (−4 cents), Illinois (−4 cents), South Carolina (−4 cents), Florida (−3 cents) and Pennsylvania (-3 cents).

Market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased to settle at $60.97. Prices fluctuated throughout the week from a low of $57.76 to a high of $61.55 in reaction to world news, including concerns of new European Union lock downs and tight vaccination supplies throughout local economies.

Also affecting the price of crude was news Thursday of a stranded container ship — which continued to block the Suez Canal, a major international oil-supply route — until it was finally freed on Monday.

While ships started to re-route last week, oil deliveries could be delayed. This is likely to have limited impact here as US oil production should be able to keep stateside supply balanced and in turn, prices stable until the canal clears.

About AAA

AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 61 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android.

For more information, visit www.AAA.com.

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