The Week

Retail prices are falling across the nation. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline dropped to $3.58 per gallon Friday, a five cent drop in the past week.  The national retail average is at the lowest point since July 12. This current price is eight cents more expensive than one month ago and eight cents cheaper than the same day last year. Nationally, the pump price average is 21 cents lower than the peak price this year of $3.79 on February 27 and 53 cents below the all-time daily high of $4.11 per gallon on July 17, 2008. Gas prices appear to have hit a summer-low of $3.47 on July 7.

Tropical storms in the Gulf Coast this season have not yet been a factor in prices; however, analysts say that storms remain a threat to the market. While not as busy as previously forecasted the Atlantic hurricane season is still expected to be unusually active throughout the season, according to an Aug. 8 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

The price of U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has retreated somewhat from the 16-month high of $108.05 per barrel on July 19, but it remains near the highest level for this time of year since 2008.  The week kicked off with crude oil closing a few pennies lower at $106.56 per barrel on Monday.  The commodity closed around a dollar lower with each consecutive day.  As of Friday morning, the price of oil was climbing for the first time in six days.   China is exhibiting signs of stabilization with increases in Brent crude oil pricing.  Crude oil settled at $106.03 at Friday’s close.

In its weekly report, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed crude oil stocks saw a 1.3 million barrel decrease that put total inventory at 363.3 million barrels. Inventories are now 6.6 million barrels below last year. Gasoline stocks increased 0.1 million barrels to 223.6 million barrels.  Gasoline demand is up from last week to 9.246 million barrels per day (bpd).  The four-week average demand level is 9.026 million bpd, compared with 8.737 million bpd in 2012.

The Weekend

“Retail prices continue to fall, but future prices will likely depend on the hurricane season and any potential refinery problems,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Refineries will begin the changeover to winter-blend gas on September 15, which could cause prices to remain flat as long as refineries run smoothly.”

The Week Ahead

AAA expects that gas prices in the coming weeks could increase due to the potential for late-summer hurricanes and potential refinery problems. These types of issues can disrupt production, distribution and gasoline supply at a time when many Americans are filling up their tanks for end of summer travel.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 

08/09/13

Week Ago

Year Ago

National

$3.58

$3.63

$3.66

New Jersey

$3.52

$3.57

$3.60

Trenton

$3.56

$3.61

$3.60

Cape May County

$3.54

$3.58

$3.62

Burlington County

$3.49

$3.54

$3.57

Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon

$3.52

$3.58

$3.59

Monmouth, Ocean Counties

$3.54

$3.57

$3.60

Crude Oil

$106.03 per barrel

$106.83 per barrel

$91.40 per 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/community.