Gas Price Slide Hits 57 Days as National Average Nears Four-Year Low

The Week

The national average price of gas has remained below $3.00 per gallon for 20days (through Friday), with more than three-quarters of U.S. gas stations now reporting prices below this benchmark.  Friday’s national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.84 per gallon, which is the lowest price since Dec. 2, 2010.  Motorists are paying seven cents less than one week ago, 25 cents less than one month ago and 38 cents less than one year ago.  The price at the pump has dropped 86 cents from the 2014 peak of $3.70 (April 28).  AAA predicts most U.S. travelers likely will pay the cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years.

Global prices for crude oil continue to fall, touching lows not seen since 2010.  Market analysts continue to speculate on what action the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will take during the upcoming meeting, scheduled for Nov 27.  Should the cartel opt to cut production, the price at the pump for motorists could return higher.  If OPEC instead chooses to maintain market share by leaving production unchanged, global oil prices could slide even further.  Crude oil settled at $76.57 per barrel on Friday.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in its weekly report that crude oil inventories saw a 2.7 million barrel build to 381.1 million barrels.  Domestic crude oil production took a step back, but remains over 9 million barrels per day (bpd) at 9.004 million bpd (from 9.063 million barrels).  Gasoline inventories saw a 1 million barrel build to 204.6 million barrels.  Gasoline demand came in at 9.194 million b/d, a gain of 189,000 b/d. Some of the demand increase could be attributed to storage being filled ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Gasoline demand figures are having a strong fall by the EIA metrics.

The Weekend

“Holiday joy has come early this year with Americans likely to pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2009,” said Tracy E. Noble, Spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “This year, more Americans will give thanks for the opportunity to travel to friends and family than any year since 2007.  Lower gas prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to carve out more money from household budgets for travel this Thanksgiving.”

 

The Week Ahead

AAA projects approximately 1.2 million New Jerseyans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up 4.1% from those who traveled for Thanksgiving 2013.  The majority of travelers 1,036,829 (89% of all travelers), will travel by automobile, an increase of 4.2% from last year.  Nationwide 46.3 million people will be traveling, an increase of 4.2% from the 44 million who traveled last year. 

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 

11/21/14

Week Ago

Year Ago

National

$2.84

$2.91

$3.22

New Jersey

$2.73

$2.76

$3.18

Trenton

$2.77

$2.81

$3.21

Cape May County

$2.73

$2.74

$3.16

Burlington County

$2.69

$2.72

$3.16

Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon

$2.72

$2.75

$3.18

Monmouth, Ocean Counties

$2.73

$2.76

$3.19

Crude Oil

$76.57 per barrel

$75.92 per barrel

$93.76 per barrel