The national gas average has likely seen its peak price for 2020, barring major hurricane activity.
As another week passes with drivers seeing little movement in prices at the pump, AAA believes gas prices may have reached their peak price for the year, since the beginning of the pandemic, excluding any major hurricane activity that could disrupt gas and oil supplies. Nationally, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline hit a summer high at $2.20 in mid-July. In New Jersey, the highest price recorded for the summer so far was $2.19 in mid-July.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.18, up a penny in the last week, down a penny in the last month, and down 42 cents from this time last year.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)
Cape May County
Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties
Monmouth, Ocean Counties
$42.34 per barrel (8/21/20)
$42.01 per barrel (8/14/20)
$54.17 per barrel (8/23/19)
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $42.34 per barrel, 33 cents higher than last Friday’s close. Crude prices have been held lower as a result of concerns over this week’s jobless claims and what that could do to gasoline demand. Domestic crude prices decreased despite the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly report revealing that total domestic inventories decreased. So far, the minimal increases in crude prices have not had a noticeable impact on pump prices, but if prices stay above $45 per barrel for a prolonged period of time, consumers could see gas prices at their local stations increase.
“Gas prices have stalled at the vast majority of pumps,” says Tracy Noble, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Concerns over employment numbers and the spread of the COVID-19 virus continue to keep prices for both gas and oil down, meaning we may have already seen the peak, since the beginning of the pandemic, for gas prices this year.”
The Week Ahead
The national gas price average has pushed only as expensive as $2.20 since the beginning of the pandemic, and that happened just one month ago. In the last four weeks, motorists have seen the national average slowly decrease, down to today’s average of $2.18 despite gasoline demand last week reaching the highest measurement since mid-March, according to the latest EIA weekly report. EIA expects gasoline will gradually decrease through the rest of the summer to an average of $2.04 per gallon in September before falling to an average of $1.99 per gallon in the fourth quarter.
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