Crude oil prices increased this week as COVID continues to keep travel restrictions in place and forecasted demand low
Pump prices, both locally and nationally, have increased this week, while gas demand decreased slightly last week, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Around the region, Delaware is the only standout, with a statewide average price dropping by a penny in the last week. Total domestic gasoline supplies increased and total crude utilization across domestic refineries took a small step forward.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.45, up three cents in the last week, up 19 cents in the last month, and unchanged from this time last year.
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CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)
|02/05/21||Week Ago||Year Ago|
|Cape May County||$2.62||$2.62||$2.52|
|Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties||$2.60||$2.57||$2.55|
|Monmouth, Ocean Counties||$2.61||$2.58||$2.53|
|Crude Oil||$56.85 per barrel (02/05/21)||$52.20 per barrel (01/29/21)||$50.32 per barrel (02/07/20)|
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $56.85 per barrel, $4.65 higher than last Friday’s close and the highest settlement price of the year. Crude prices rose this week after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its production reduction agreement partners met to review compliance with their agreement to collectively reduce their crude production by 7.2 million barrels per day. The group decided to hold the cuts steady and expects output to remain low this year, since demand is forecast to be lower than expected throughout 2021 due to ongoing crude demand concerns as the pandemic continues to keep travel restrictions in place. Crude prices have also been bolstered by EIA’s latest report showing that total domestic crude inventories dropped last week.
“Local drivers have seen increases of at least three cents at the pump this week,” said Tracy E. Noble, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “An increase in crude utilization and increasing crude prices have and will continue to contribute to higher pump prices for drivers throughout the month.”