Gas prices rise despite sluggish demand as inventories drop

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Delaware’s small drop in gas prices was short-lived.

Prices rose by seven cents in the state, according to Wilmington-based AAA-Mid Atlantic. Prices had dropped a similar amount the previous week.

Here are Monday regional gas price prices:

  • Pennsylvaniagas average at $2.61 today, unchanged overnight and up 5 cents in the last week.
  • New Jersey gas average at$2.47 today, up a penny overnight and up 8 cents in the last week.
  • Delawaregas average at $2.42 today, unchanged overnight and up 7 cents in the last week.
  • Maryland gas average at $2.41 today, up a penny overnight and up 6 cents in the last week.
  • Philadelphia (5-county) areagas average at $2.64 today, unchanged overnight and up 5 cents in the last week.
  • S. Jerseygas average at $2.45 today, unchanged overnight and up 6 cents in the last week.
  • National gas average at $2.31 today, unchanged overnight and up 6 cents in the last week.

In Delaware, the state’s lone Costco store near Christiana Mall had the state’s lowest prices at $2.14 a gallon for regular after holding the line at around $2 a gallon for months.

Some independents were charging in the $2.20 a gallon, with manyWawa and Royal Farms stores were charging $2.46 a gallon, above the state average.

Gas prices across the country and the Delaware Valley continued to increase despite gas demand falling to the lowest level recorded since the end of May 2020, and total domestic supply increasing last week, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Domestic crude prices climbed above $50 per barrel this week with growing total refinery utilization have contributed to higher pump prices.

Friday’s national gas price average is $2.30, up five cents in the last week, up 15 cents in the last month, and down 29 cents from this time last year.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

1/8/21

Week Ago

Year Ago

National

$2.30

$2.55

$2.59

Pennsylvania

$2.60

$2.55

$2.83

Philadelphia
(5-county)

$2.62

$2.58

$2.77

South Jersey

$2.43

$2.37

$2.57

Delaware

$2.36

$2.34

$2.42

Crude Oil

$52.24
per barrel
(Fri. 1/8/21 close)

$48.52
per barrel
(12/31/20)

$59.04
per barrel
(1/10/20)

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $52.24 per barrel, $3.72 higher than last Thursday’s close.

Crude prices increased after Saudi Arabia announced that it would cut its crude production by 1 million barrels per day in February and March after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met with its partners, including Russia and Kazakhstan, to discuss a production reduction agreement.

Increasing crude prices were supported by EIA’s weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories decreased last week. If total domestic crude supply continues to drop, crude prices could continue to increase and push pump prices higher.

Refiners have been adjusting capacity to meet demand, with Delaware City refinery owner PBF Energy cutting production at its Paulsboro, NJ site.

“If crude prices continue to stay above $50 per barrel alongside higher refinery utilization rates, drivers could see pump prices continue to climb,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This situation is unusual given that low winter gas demand typically pushes prices to their lowest point of the year but the increased confidence fostered by the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine could push demand higher at some point this year.”

To check out gas prices in your neighborhood, log on to AAA’sFuel Price Finder(http://www.AAA.com/fuelfinder).

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