Mid-Atlantic motorists continue to see gas prices taking a bite out of family budgets.
The price at the pump stayed below $3 a gallon for regular in Delaware. Gasoline inventories dropped this week, while demand for gas is expected to increase for the Memorial Day holiday next week.
In addition, the price of oil (the biggest stressor on pump prices) remains above $71 per barrel, $20 higher than this time last year.
Delaware’s average gas price remained only a few cents lower than neighboring New Jersey, despite the Garden State’s state’s gas tax, which is a 14 cents higher.
Gas prices remained low by historical standards in the Lewes-Rehoboth area, which typically has the state’s highest prices. That area has seen an expansion by Royal Farms and Wawa.
Other areas with lower prices, according to the AAA’s Fuel Price Finder were Elsmere, Middletown and the Newark area.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline
|5/20/2018||Week Ago||Year Ago|
|Crude Oil||$71.28per barrel
|$51.42 per barrel|
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $71.28 per barrel, up 58 cents from the previous week. Oil prices climbed to new highs for 2018 last week, following President Trump’s decision to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran and a withdrawal the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Some of the pre-2015 sanctions targeted the Iranian energy sector and impeded Iran’s ability to sell oil. With those sanctions being re-imposed in the next 3-6 months, Iran’s crude exports are forecasted to decrease, contributing to already declining global crude supplies amid growing global demand. Increased fears of instability in the region may push oil prices even higher, AAA reported.
Still, optimism remains higher with no signs that motorists will reducing their driving.
“The unofficial start of summer is less than a week away and motorists are gearing up to take to the roads,” saidJana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Though prices at the pump are likely to be the highest since 2014, AAA is projecting the highest Memorial Day holiday weekend travel volume since 2005.”
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest gas prices since 2014, the vast majority of holiday travelers (88 percent) are still planning to hit the road. Automobile travel will grow by 4.7 percent this Memorial Day, with 36.6 million Americans planning a road trip.
AAA projects that nearly 42 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. That is two million more travelers than last year taking to the roads, skies, rails and water, creatingthe highest Memorial Day travel volume in more than a dozen years.The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28.