Gas prices jump ahead of Memorial Day weekend


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Gas prices in South Central Ohio rose by six cents this week to $2.349 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

On the National Front

National gas prices are increasing for the first time in four weeks, with today’s average at $2.36/gallon – two cents more than a week ago, six cents less than a month ago, but eight cents more than a year ago. The increases are likely the result of rising demand and crude oil prices. At least 36 states saw price increases on the week, with national gasoline inventories dropping by 400,000 barrels to 240.7 million.

AAA projects that more than 34 million Americans are planning to take a road trip this Memorial Day weekend– the highest level since 2005. The rise in road travel could pressure pump prices to continue to increase into the summer months, potentially returning to the higher national averages seen in April.

Ohio (+10 cents) tops the list of largest weekly increases across the country. The increase is in-line with growing national demand and the region’s drop in gasoline inventory. Great Lakes and Central States inventories dropped by 1.5 million barrels, the biggest draws in the country. Even still, the region is sitting on 700,000 barrels more than a year ago.

After a strong finish to last week’s trading, crude made strong gains on Monday morning and stayed above $50 per barrel. The jump is due to a weaker dollar and comes ahead of OPEC’s meeting on Thursday in Austria to discuss extending the already agreed upon production cuts through the remainder of the year – and possibly through the first quarter of 2018. Only time will tell if OPEC’s actions will curtail growing inventories, especially as the U.S. continues to benefit from historic rates of exploration.

Unprecedented growth in the exploration sector will continue to put new oil in the production pipeline for refineries. If gas prices continue to increase, refiners will capitalize on the potential to expand profit margins and continue producing record amounts of gasoline. With Memorial Day around the corner, these dynamics and growing demand could lead to higher prices at the pump for road travelers.

This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average $2.349

Average price during the week of May 15, 2017 $2.287

Average price during the week of May 23, 2016 $2.381

Here is the price per gallon of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:

$2.450 Athens

$2.392 Chillicothe

$2.317 Columbiana

$2.256 East Liverpool

$2.253 Gallipolis

$2.378 Hillsboro

$2.401 Ironton

$2.356 Jackson

$2.403 Logan

$2.219 Marietta

$2.418 Portsmouth

$2.327 Steubenville

$2.387 Washington Court House

$2.334 Waverly

Drivers can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. Past news releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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