AAA Mid-Atlantic: The national gas prices average drops to levels last seen in December 2011.

The Week

Lower prices at the pump continue to be enjoyed nationwide, as motorists in every state and Washington, D.C. are appreciating cheaper prices than a year ago.  The national average price for regular grade gasoline fell to $3.21 Friday.  This price is seven cents lower than one week ago, 14 cents less than one month ago and 25 cents less than the same day last year.  Friday’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline is the lowest price of 2013 and a price last seen on December 21 2011.  National gas prices have dropped 38 cents since September 1 ($3.59) and have fallen on 61 of 68 days (through Friday) during this span.

Even as national gas prices have drifted lower, sustained expensive crude oil prices have been an effective floor for how low pump prices could fall.  After settling above $100 per barrel for 15 straight weeks, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil finally settled below this mark on October 21 and has remained there each trading day since.  Crude oil remained in the $93 to $96 per barrel range this week, pressured by rising supplies and continued weak demand.  The U.S. dollar has also supported crude oil’s recent range by remaining somewhat stronger against foreign currencies this week.   Crude oil settled at $94.35 at Friday’s close.

 

In its weekly report, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed crude oil stocks rose by 1.6 million barrels to 385.4 million barrels, less than expectations.  Gasoline stockpiles dropped 3.8 million barrels to 210 million barrels.  Gasoline inventories have fallen for the last few weeks, and now stand at the lowest national inventory of gasoline since the week ending November 23, 2012.  Gasoline demand saw a robust 9.292 million barrels per day (bpd) last week (within 7,000 bpd of the high for the year), an increase of 238,000 bpd. Last week's gasoline demand figure is the highest for the same week since 2007.  However, while strong, demand figures compared to last year are a bit misleading considering last week was the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

The Weekend

“Prices at the pump continue to drop to the lowest levels seen this year,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “AAA expects the national average price at the pump will drop to as low as $3.10 per gallon before the end of the year and many consumers will enjoy local prices below $3 per gallon as the holidays draw near.”

The Week Ahead

Prices at the pump are expected to continue their downward trend for the remainder of the year, inching ever-closer to the $3.00 mark and below in some states.  Ample supplies and decreased demand, coupled with less expensive seasonal gasoline and crude oil prices below $100 per barrel, all combine to push gas prices lower.  Another factor has been the lack of major hurricanes in the Atlantic this season (which ends November 30).  According to The Weather Channel, since the satellite era began in 1960, only four years have had no major hurricanes (1994, 1986, 1972, and 1968) and it is looking like 2013 will be the fifth year.  While there’s still time for a major hurricane to form, the odds are low with only three weeks to go in hurricane season. 

Regular Unleaded Gasoline

 

11/08/13

Week Ago

Year Ago

National

$3.21

$3.28

$3.46

New Jersey

$3.12

$3.16

$3.65

Trenton

$3.17

$3.21

$3.66

Cape May County

$3.12

$3.17

$3.56

Burlington County

$3.09

$3.13

$3.50

Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon

$3.13

$3.16

$3.66

Monmouth, Ocean Counties

$3.12

$3.16

$3.64

Crude Oil

$94.35 per barrel

$97.94 per barrel

$85.09per barrel

AAA is the most comprehensive resource for gas prices and its reports reflect actual prices from credit card transactions at more than 100,000 gas stations in the U.S.

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:


AAA Mid-Atlantic, serves nearly four million members in parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and throughout Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and is on the Web at AAA.com.