Rising crude oil prices could bring more pain at the gas pump


Gasoline prices rose by a penny during the week despite a drop in consumer demand, Wilmington-based AAA Mid-Atlantic reported.

Crude oil continued to stay above the $80 a barrel threshold.

The primary reason for the rise in oil prices is the possibility that the Covid-19 omicron variant may ebb, allowing the world’s economic engines to kick into high gear, AAA reported. Delaware has seen a decline in new Covid cases and hospitalizations.

The potential increase in oil demand, coupled with lagging crude production, will only increase prices. Since the oil price accounts for roughly half of what consumers pay at the pump, higher oil costs will likely result in higher gasoline costs.

The higher price at the pump disproportionately affects less affluent Americans, who often own older vehicles, including SUVs, that get fewer miles per gallon.


Some stations were selling below the average price, with Sam’s club in Dover selling regular at $3.05 a gallon, according to the GasBuddy site.

AAA’s Fuel Price Finder reported that Middletown Citgo and Sun Gas, and the Christiana Costco east of Newark were selling regular at $3.10 a gallon.


Regular Unleaded Gasoline

 1/21/22Week AgoYear Ago
South Jersey$3.29$3.28$2.54
Crude Oil$85.14 per barrel (1/21/22)$83.82 per barrel (1/14/22)$52.27 per barrel (1/22/21)

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate crude ended the week up 2% to settle at $85.14 per barrel, marking a fifth consecutive weekly increase. In addition, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks rose by 5.9 million barrels to 246.6 million barrels, an 11-month high. As a result, gasoline demand increased to nearly 21.2 million barrels per day over the past four weeks, similar levels to two years ago prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the past few weeks, we have seen the price for a barrel of oil slowly work its way from the mid-$60s to the low $80s,” said Jana Tidwell, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “And the primary reason is global economic optimism, whether well-founded or not, that the worst of COVID may soon be behind us. Should crude oil prices continue to climb, motorists will likely see gas prices follow suit.”

To check out prices in your area, log on to AAA’s Fuel Price Finder at http://www.AAA.com/fuelfinder