The Week

Prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic region have mirrored the rise in the national average this past week, reaching the highest level since January.  The region will switch from winter-blend to the more expensive summer-blend gasoline by April 10, leading to price increases at the pump.

Today’s national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.38, seven cents more than a week ago and 34 cents more than the same date last year. This trend of rising pump prices is likely to continue as refinery maintenance wraps up, summer-blend gasoline becomes available and driving demand increases this spring.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 
04/07/17
Week Ago
Year Ago
National
$2.38 $2.31
$2.04
New Jersey
$2.36
$2.29
$1.87
Trenton
$2.39
$2.33
$1.89
Cape May County
$2.36
$2.29
$1.86
Burlington
$2.32
$2.23
$1.83
Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties
$2.38
$2.31
$1.87
Monmouth, Ocean Counties
$2.38
$2.30
$1.87
Crude Oil

$52.21 per barrel (04/07/17)

$50.60 per barrel (03/31/17
$37.26 per barrel (04/07/16)

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $52.21 per barrel, as investors weigh concerns the U.S. cruise-missile strike against Syria may have on the crude oil market. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a surprising increase of 1.57 million barrels in crude inventories, bringing total U.S. stocks to a record 535.5 million barrels.

The Weekend

“Rising gas prices, an annual rite of spring, came a few weeks later than usual,” said Tracy E. Noble, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The combination of the switchover to summer-blend gas and crude oil closing above $50 all week, has pushed prices higher at the pump.” 

The Week Ahead

Reports that Iraq plans to increase its production cut compliance as a part of OPEC’s output agreement furthered speculation that OPEC and non-OPEC producers may extend their agreement beyond the original six-month deadline of June. U.S. oil production is seen as a threat to the reduction of still-swelled global inventories. Even though most analysts expect OPEC to extend the cuts deeper into 2017, rising U.S. output stands to snuff out price rallies.