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aaa mid atlanticHAMILTON, NJ - New Jersey prices are at least 16 cents less than last year as crude oil prices continue to sink.

The Week

One side-effect of the COVID-19 virus can be seen at gas pumps, both locally and nationally. Pump prices across the region are between 10 and 25 cents lower than this time last year. Drivers are taking notice – New Jersey is six cents lower than one week ago, Philadelphia is seven cents lower and Delaware has dropped by 10 cents. If crude prices remain low, motorists will likely see continued relief at the pump during the run-up to spring as the world grapples with how to contain the global public health threat and financial risks associated with COVID-19. 

Today’s national gas price average is $2.30, down 10 cents in the last week, down 12 cents in the last month and down 21 cents from this time last year.

                                                    CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

     Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 

03/13/20

Week Ago

Year Ago

National

$2.30

$2.40

$2.51

New Jersey

$2.39

$2.46

$2.55

Trenton

$2.48

$2.53

$2.58

Cape May County

$2.41

$2.44

$2.54

Burlington

$2.29

$2.35

$2.49

Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties

$2.41

$2.49

$2.58

Monmouth, Ocean Counties

$2.41

$2.48

$2.56

Crude Oil

$31.73 per barrel (03/13/20)

$41.28 per barrel (03/06/20)

$58.52 barrel (03/14/19)

 

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $31.73 per barrel, $9.55 lower than last Friday’s close. It was a bumpy week as oil prices fell Monday by the most in one day since the 1991 Gulf War, bounced back up Tuesday then dropped again Wednesday and Thursday and finally gaining 23 cents by Friday as the market reacted to worries over the coronavirus, the Trump administration’s travel restrictions and the indecision by OPEC and its partners to reduce oil production. Until the price war ends and fears about the impact of COVID-19 on global crude demand subside, domestic crude prices are likely to remain low.

The Weekend

“Pump prices continue to decline as the global economy faces significant downward pressure from COVID-19 fears and the ongoing crude price war,” says Tracy E. Noble, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Gas prices usually increase in the spring due to an increase in demand and lower supply, but this year drivers could continue to see lower prices.”

The Week Ahead

In addition to virus fears, an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has added to market concerns as both countries announced efforts this week to increase crude exports while global crude demand is forecasted to decline due to COVID-19. Dumping cheap crude oil into the frenzied global market could help both countries gain individual market share, but the reduced price for oil has forced domestic energy companies to slash budgets and investments. Although these events have pushed oil prices lower, to the benefit of consumers, continued oil market turmoil and sustained cheap crude prices could ignite further market erosion that leads to a recession.

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