Lower crude oil prices could ease spikes at the pump

The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is 29 cents higher this week at $4.092 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $4.092

The average price in Washington Court House: $4.093

Average price during the week of March 7, 2022 $3.800

Average price during the week of March 15, 2021 $2.717

The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:

$4.108 Athens

$4.097 Chillicothe

$4.086 Columbiana

$4.089 East Liverpool

$4.093 Gallipolis

$4.072 Hillsboro

$4.103 Ironton

$4.099 Jackson

$4.071 Logan

$4.099 Marietta

$4.084 Portsmouth

$4.092 Steubenville

$4.097 Waverly

Trend Analysis:

After cresting above $123 per barrel shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the price of crude oil has gradually fallen below $110. If this trend holds, it may remove some of the extreme upward price pressure consumers have found at the pump. The national average price of a gallon of gas hit $4.33 on Friday, March 11, before falling a penny and holding throughout the weekend and Monday at $4.32. Today’s national average is 26 cents more than a week ago, 84 cents more than a month ago, and $1.47 more than a year ago.

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 1.4 million barrels to 244.6 million barrels last week. Meanwhile, gasoline demand rose slightly from 8.74 million barrels per day to 8.96 million barrels per day. The increase in gas demand and total supply reductions are contributing to rising pump prices. However, increasing oil prices play the lead role in pushing gas prices higher as the cost of crude oil accounts for about 50% of what drivers pay at the pump. Consumers can expect the current trend at the pump to continue if crude prices continue to climb.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate increased by $3.31 to settle at $109.33. Crude prices have eased as the market continues to find replacement barrels of oil and further supply growth for the tight market becomes apparent. However, the market remains volatile and additional disruptions or escalation of the current crisis in Ukraine could cause prices to surge again this week. Additionally, EIA reported that total domestic crude stocks decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week to 411.6 million barrels. The current stock level is approximately 17% lower than at the end of February 2021, which continues to put pressure on domestic crude prices.

Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide, and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.

The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline shot up a whopping 79 cents over the past two weeks to a record-setting $4.43 per gallon (3.8 liters) as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is contributing to already-high prices at the pump.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday the new price exceeds by 32 cents the prior all-time high of $4.11 set in July 2008.

In today’s dollars, the previous record would be equal to $5.30 a gallon, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator.

The price at the pump is $1.54 higher than it was a year ago.

Lundberg said gas prices are likely to remain high in the short term as crude oil costs soar amid global supply concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prices at the pump were rising long before Russia invaded Ukraine as post-lockdown demand has pushed prices higher. Crude prices plummeted in early 2020 as economies around the world shut down because of COVID-19 — the price of futures even turned negative, meaning some sellers were paying buyers to take oil. Prices rebounded, however, as demand recovered faster than producers pulled oil out of the ground and inventories dried up.

Then, the price increase accelerated after war began.

Energy prices are also contributing to the worst inflation that Americans have seen in 40 years, far outpacing higher wages.

Nationwide, the highest average price for regular-grade gas is in the San Francisco Bay Area, at $5.79 per gallon. The lowest average is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at $3.80 per gallon.

According to the survey, the average price of diesel also spiked, up $1.18 over two weeks, to $5.20 a gallon. Diesel costs $2.11 more than it did one year ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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