As gasoline inventories drop, oil prices remain in the mid-$60-per-barrel range, and refineries prepare to sell summer-blend gasoline, local gas prices continue to climb with some coming close to 2017 high prices.
Delaware’s average price saw a nine cents increase over last and is now 11 cents away from the state’s 2017 high price. The price at the pump was as low as $2.50 a gallon in the Capitol Trail area near Newark and Elsmere.
|3/30 /2018||Week Ago||Year Ago|
(Fri. 3/23/18 close)
|$52.01 per barrel|
At the close of NYMEX trading Thursday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $64.94 per barrel, up $2.60 from the previous week. Analysts believe that the higher crude prices are partially due to the effectiveness of OPEC’s production reduction agreement which will be in effect through the end of 2018, and may extend into 2019. Meanwhile, U.S. crude production continues to boom, hitting another record high of 10.41 million barrels per day.
“Right now we are seeing the market starting to purge winter-blend gasoline to make room for summer-blend,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The jump in local gas prices is just the beginning for the season and some areas of the tri-state region may see prices exceed last year’s high price.”
The summer driving season starts in May and by that time, most retail gas stations should be selling summer-blend gasoline which is more expensive to produce.
Summer-grade gasoline has a lower volatility than winter-grade gasoline to limit evaporative emissions that normally increase with warm weather. If AAA’s expert predictions hold true, drivers across the tri-state area will be paying the highest gas prices since 2014.
To check out prices in your neighborhood, check out AAA’s Fuel Price Finder at(http://www.AAA.com/fuelfinder).