AAA: Gas prices on the rise in Ohio as demand increases nationwide


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The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is nine cents higher this week at $1.964 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

Gas prices continue to push more expensive with one dozen Great Lakes and Central states seeing an increase of a dime or more on the week. Kentucky (+14 cents), Minnesota (+12 cents), North Dakota (+11 cents), Missouri (+11 cents) and Wisconsin (+10 cents) saw the largest jumps in the region. While state gas price averages across the region are more expensive on the month, they continue to be cheaper compared to this time last year by 75 cents to nearly a dollar.

Regional refinery utilization saw a 3% increase – up to 73% – while gasoline stocks held steady at 54 million barrels, in the Energy Information Administration (EIA) latest weekly reports. This latest measurement is the lowest inventory level of the year, which has contributed to more expensive gas prices recently.

This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $1.964

Average price during the week of May 18, 2020 $1.874

Average price during the week of May 28, 2019 $2.661

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

$1.998 Athens

$1.975 Chillicothe

$1.968 Columbiana

$1.988 East Liverpool

$1.893 Gallipolis

$1.990 Hillsboro

$1.886 Ironton

$1.995 Jackson

$1.999 Logan

$1.962 Marietta

$1.923 Portsmouth

$1.982 Steubenville

$1.953 Washington Court House

$1.979 Waverly

On the National Front

After dropping to a low of $1.76 in April, the national gas price average is pennies away from hitting the $2/gallon mark. Today’s average is $1.96, which is eight cents higher than a week ago, 19 cents more than last month, but still a significant 87 cents cheaper than the end of May 2019.

The more expensive pump prices can be attributed to fluctuations in crude and demand. In the past week, crude oil hit its highest price point – nearly $34 per barrel – since the Administration declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency and many states started implementing stay-at-home restrictions. While demand has been increasing since the end of April, it is down 28% compared to the first three weeks of May last year.

One factor that AAA is monitoring and which could cause a sudden spike in gas prices is the Atlantic hurricane season, which is June 1 through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the 2020 season will be above-normal, potentially resulting in 13-19 named storms. An average Atlantic hurricane season typically produces 12 named storms, including 3 major hurricanes.

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate decreased by 67 cents to settle at $33.25 per barrel. Although tension between Hong Kong and China lowered prices on Friday, crude prices generally increased last week amid growing market optimism that domestic crude demand continues to rebound as more states ease stay-at-home restrictions and demand for gasoline has grown.

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

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 78 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.

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