Gas prices continued to increase this week, but not at as at the rate seen the week before when some areas in the Mid-Atlantic saw nearly double-digit increases. Today’s national gas price average is $2.82, which is up two cents in the last week, up 16 cents in the last month and 45 cents higher than this time last year. Today’s price is 15 cents higher than last year’s highest price of $2.67 on September 8, 2017.
Today’s New Jersey average is $2.89 per gallon which is up two cents in the past week, an increase of 20 cents in the last month and almost 50 cents higher than one year ago.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)
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Cape May County
Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties
Monmouth, Ocean Counties
$69.76per barrel (05/04/18)
$68.10 per barrel (04/27/18)
$45.52 per barrel (05/04/17)
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $69.76 per barrel. Crude oil exports were at 2.148 million barrels per day (b/d) last week. This is a drop from the previous week’s high of 2.331 million barrels per day, which was the highest weekly estimate on record from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA also reported that consumer gasoline demand is at 9.090 million b/d. During the past two weeks demand levels have been more in line with the usual spring driving season than the nearly 9.9 million b/d estimate reported in the middle of April – a record-breaking figure that more closely resembles demand rates seen during the high-demand summer driving season.
“We expect prices to continue increasing, potentially another 5 to 10 cents, through Memorial Day,” said Tracy E. Noble, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Even with gasoline demand remaining flat during the past two weeks, the national gas average has increased seven cents with other factors driving prices, including the switchover to summer blend, geopolitical events, global supply and U.S. production. While at least nine states have hit the $3/gallon mark, AAA does not expect the national average to reach $3/gallon this year.”
The Week Ahead
The national retail average price of self-serve regular gasoline could hover well shy of the three dollar mark, around $2.87 to $2.92 per gallon, through Memorial Day, the official start of the summer driving season. Consumers could face the most expensive driving season in four years or since 2014, according to AAA. Consumers in nine states are already grappling with pump prices that have hit the $3/gallon mark, but it is unlikely the national average will soar that high.
Of the nine states over $3/gallon, only Pennsylvania is located on the East Coast, but the New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia are close behind. Refineries are now federally-mandated to produce the more expensive summer-blend gasoline. On June 1, retailers must make the switch to selling the summer-blend gasoline.