Gas prices around New Jersey did an about-face this week, rising in some areas by three cents on the week compared to the slight decreases seen last week. A surprise build in crude oil supply, a decrease in gasoline supply and a continued high demand for gasoline has prices in a volatile state. AAA expects gas prices to trend higher and remain unpredictable heading into the final weeks of the summer driving season.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.87, which is up one cent compared to last week and last month, and 54 cents higher than this time last year.
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
$68.58 per barrel (08/03/18)
$68.69 per barrel (07/27/18)
$50.24 per barrel (08/04/17)
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $68.58 per barrel. A surprise build in crude oil supply kept crude prices below $70 all week but a price increase took hold Thursday after a private report showed crude inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub dropped more than one million barrels in less than a week. The tightening domestic crude supply, robust global gasoline demand and high global crude demand will likely sustain into the near future, leading to more expensive crude oil prices, which are almost $20 per barrel more compared to last year.
“Motorists should expect gas prices to remain volatile and possibly trend higher in the weeks ahead, ahead of the Labor Day holiday,” said Tracy E. Noble, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Regionally, prices are on the rise but are not at the point where drivers will cancel any final summer road trip plans.”
The Week Ahead
Crude oil prices continue to be influenced by a variety of geopolitical factors. The ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China had raised concerns over the potential for a fall in global oil demand. There are also concerns surrounding Iranian oil, as Iran has the potential to drill in the Persian Gulf, threatening to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a key world congestion point for oil shipping. In addition, political instability in Libya and Venezuela and recent U.S. actions of pulling out of a nuclear deal in Iran means there is less oil available.