Gas prices nationally and in the Garden State barely budged over the past week, as fears of an omicron-driven economic “soft shutdown” dominate the news. Today’s New Jersey average of $3.38 is down a penny from last week, down four cents from a month ago, and 96 cents more per gallon than this time last year. The national average of $3.30 is two cents more than last week, yet four cents less than a month ago and $1.02 more than this time last year.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)
|1/7/22||Week Ago||Year Ago|
|Cape May County||$3.40||$3.37||$2.49|
|Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties||$3.40||$3.40||$2.45|
|Monmouth, Ocean Counties||$3.38||$3.38||$2.46|
|Crude Oil||$78.90 per barrel (1/7/22)||$75.21 per barrel (12/31/21)||$52.24 per barrel (1/8/21)|
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI ended the week up nearly five percent to settle at $78.90 per barrel. Unrest in Kazakhstan, which could impact the country’s oil production, as well as demand concerns over the omicron variant of COVID-19, have resulted in the week’s uptick in oil prices. The EIA reported that total domestic oil stocks decreased by 3.6 million barrels last week to 420 million barrels. The current stock level is 14.9 percent lower than at the end of December 2020, contributing to domestic crude prices. If oil prices continue to climb, pump prices will likely follow suit.
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“There is a lot of uncertainty about the potential economic impact of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Will it peak quickly and vanish as some hope, or will it linger as others fear?” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “And we are seeing this reflected at the pump in the form of uneasy price stability.”