Gas prices stable as U.S. boosts production
Gas prices remained stable in Delaware during the past week as the spring and summer driving season approaches.
The price at the pump averaged $2.21 in the state, down a penny from a week ago.
Wilmington-based AAA Atlantic reported that during the past week, retail gas averages moved downward by only a cent or two.
Prices continue to remain flat due to less driving and an oversupplied market, due to increased U.S. production. New individual and commercial vehicles are also more fuel efficient, putting further pressure on prices.
After falling through most of the last year, U.S. inventories of gasoline are back at record highs of 259.1 million barrels with refineries making gasoline faster than U.S. drivers can use it. That will change as refineries in Delaware City and elsewhere undergo planned maintenance.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)
|2/26/2016||Week Ago||Year Ago|
|$40.85 per barrel|
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate Crude was up 59cents at $53.99 per barrel. Crude oil inventories are up, and U.S. oil production rose for the second month in a row, according to recent government data, the first time this has occurred since early 2015.
These factors leave retail prices remaining fairly steady and could foil OPEC’s goal of trying to bring supply and demand in the global market back into balance. U.S. producers are said to have cut production costs, allowing high-costproduction from fracking and other methods to be more competitive.
“Gas prices have certainly been a lot more predictable lately,”said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Even with OPEC cutting production, supplies are healthy, demand is down, and at least until refineries conduct their annual late winter/early spring maintenance operations, it appears we are poised to see pump prices in this same general price range.”
As refinery maintenance season begins and driving demand increases, we could expect to see some of the gasoline supply in the U.S. soaked up. According to the latest Energy Information Administration report, East Coast gasoline stocks increased by 2.5 million barrels to 76.3 million barrels – a record high for the region. The increase occurred despite lower imports and lower gasoline production over the past week.
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