Gas prices stay stable as cracks appear in OPEC’s effort to rein in production

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Gas prices in Delaware were up a couple of pennies during the week as lower crude oil prices offset the impact of refinery maintenance and a switch to more expensive summer-blend gasoline, Wilmington-based AAA Mid-Atlantic reported.

Gasoline inventories remain high regionally and the Oil Price Information Service reports that the healthy supply should keep prices relatively stable as the market prepares for the transition to summer-blend gasoline. Overall, increased U.S. oil production continues to counter OPEC cuts.

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

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3/12/2016 Week Ago Year Ago
National $2.30 $2.31 $1.92
Pennsylvania $2.50 $2.51 $1.99
Philadelphia (5-county) $2.47 $2.48 $2.01
South Jersey $2.22 $2.23 $1.64
Wilkes-Barre $2.51 $2.52 $1.98
Delaware $2.24 $2.22 $1.85
Crude Oil

$48.49 per barrel
(Friday3/10/17 close)

$53.33 per barrel
(Friday3/3/17 close)

$44.73 per barrel

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled in at $48.49 per barrel. Motorists are paying abut 40 cents a gallon more than a year ago.

Crude oil dropped below the $50 per barrel mark this week for the first time since December. Oil production in the U.S. continues to rise. Globally, the Russian energy ministry released oil production data showing that their oil production has remained unchanged compared to last month. This information unsettled traders and many speculate whether or not Russia will thwart efforts by OPEC to rebalance global oil supply.

“At a time when gas prices typically experience a seasonal uptick, that increase has stalled, which is welcome news for motorists,” saidJana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Though crude oil prices have leveled off, which typically halts pump price increases, seasonal refinery maintenance and the switchover to summer blend gasoline will likely reverse this trend in the weeks ahead.”

In Delaware, the lowest prices at the pump came in the Capitol Trail-Kirkwood Highway area at $2.06 a gallon, AAA reported. Driving the prices lower was BJ’s Wholesale Club, which was offering between $2.106 to $2.09-a-gallon gas to members at its Elsmere and New Castle locations respectively, according to the Gas Buddy crowed-sourced website.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. monthly average regular gasoline retail prices to increase from $2.30 per gallon in February 2017 to $2.51 per gallon in July before falling to $2.24 per gallon by December.

U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.40 per gallon in 2017 and $2.44 per gallon in 2018. EIA forecasts WTI crude oil prices are expected to average $54 per barrel in 2017.

AAA offers a Fuel Price Finder(http://www.AAA.com/fuelfinder), which locates gas prices in your area.

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