The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is 11 cents higher this week at $2.598 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.
Pump prices range from as much as 13 cents more expensive to nine cents cheaper in the Great Lakes and Central states this week, with Ohio (+13 cents) seeing the biggest statewide change in the region and the country. Kentucky motorists are paying a penny more per gallon this week at $2.33.
Gasoline stocks built by a significant 1.6 million barrels in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest report. That increases total stocks for the region to 53 million barrels, which is on par with levels this time last year. Regional refinery utilization remains at 100%, which would normally lead to cheaper gas prices for the region. However, following the attacks over the weekend on two major Saudi Arabian oil facilities, potential jumps in crude oil prices may reverse this trend and lead to more expensive gas prices. Further analysis on these attacks can be found below in the “On the National Front” section of this report.
This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $2.598
Average price during the week of Sept. 9, 2019 $2.486
Average price during the week of Sept. 17, 2018 $2.762
The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:
$2.540 East Liverpool
$2.679 Washington Court House
On the National Front
On the week, the national gas price average held steady at $2.56, but motorists can expect volatility at the pump in the coming days and weeks. Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia experienced drone attacks on two major oil facilities – including the world’s largest, Abqaiq. The attacks have taken 5.7 million crude barrels per day off the market, accounting for about 6% of the global supply.
Despite a global glut of crude oil, initial market reaction to the attacks increased crude prices. At the start of the work week, crude oil (West Texas Intermediate, WTI) is trading for $5/barrel more than on Friday’s closing, up to $61/bbl – a price point for crude not seen since May.
Americans may see local pump prices start to increase this week, though it is not clear by how much. Whether this is a short- or long-term trend will be determined by the price of crude oil and how quickly the facilities in Saudi Arabia can recover and get back online. To ease concerns, President Trump said he has authorized the release of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Other Saudi-oil-consuming countries also have emergency reserves to help back-fill the global loss, if needed.
Notably, the U.S. currently depends less on crude imports from Saudi Arabia. The latest EIA report showed that the U.S. is currently importing the least amount of crude oil from Saudi in this decade. In the first half of this year, on average the U.S. imported about 18,000 barrels, compared to 35,600 barrels in the first half of 2017. Moreover, while U.S. gasoline stock levels have been decreasing the past few weeks, total domestic stocks sit at 228 million barrels, which is ahead of the five-year average for this time of year by several million bbl.
Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide, and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 79 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.