The Week

Gas prices have jumped eight cents per gallon nationally in the past week.  In the Mid-Atlantic region, prices have been rising, though in some states like New Jersey, gas prices are still among the lowest in the country.  The increase is due to a decline in gasoline supplies, relatively strong demand, continued refinery maintenance, and crude oil is trading higher.  Today’s national average price of $1.97 per gallon is the highest average in two months. Relatively low oil costs continue to provide drivers with year-over-year savings at the pump, and consumers are saving 45 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 
3/18/16
Week Ago
Year Ago
National
$1.97 $1.89
$2.42
New Jersey
$1.72
$1.65
$2.21
Trenton
$1.74
$1.66
$2.26
Cape May County
$1.70
$1.63
 
Burlington
$1.69
$1.62
$2.18
Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties
$1.73
$1.67
$2.21
Monmouth, Ocean Counties
$1.73
$1.65
$2.23
Crude Oil

$39.44 per barrel

$38.50 per barrel
$44.66 per barrel

Projected reductions in global oil supply and Iran’s slower-than-expected return to the global oil market reportedly contributed to both Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closing out the week at 2016 highs. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI settled at $39.44 per barrel, which is almost one dollar higher than the week before and marked the fifth week of oil price increases.  

The Weekend

“As the weather improves, people are hitting the roads and using more fuel, while refineries are producing less gasoline,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Unfortunately, despite recent the increases, there's still room for prices to go even higher as previous spring increases have been 50 cents or more.”

The Week Ahead

Prices typically move higher at this time of year as gasoline demand begins to increase and refineries conduct seasonal maintenance. This year’s refinery maintenance season is characterized by lower-than-expected prices for crude oil and ample supplies, which should help keep pump prices relatively low compared to recent years. Prices in some regions may move significantly higher in the near term due to fluctuations in local supply and demand associated with continued maintenance and preparations for summer-blend gasoline in advance of the June 1 deadline for retail facilities to sell the cleaner blend.