TAMPA, Fla. — Oil prices pushed lower last week, giving motorists some hope for relief at the pump. The national average price for gasoline has climbed 14 cents since February, but that upward trend came to an end over the weekend.
“Falling oil and wholesale gas prices should signal lower prices at the pump this week,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “However, oil prices have been fickle this year, so motorists should expect continued volatility in the next couple of months as oil prices fluctuate, demand rises, and refineries complete the switchover to more expensive summer blends.”
Oil Prices Hit 3-week Lows
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.09 on the day, to settle at $49.62. The decrease over last week’s settlement came amid news that Russia said it would be willing to extend its cut to crude oil production that was agreed upon with OPEC last year. However, demand continues to grow steadily, with total U.S. petroleum deliveries in March reaching their highest point for this time of the year since 2008, according to the American Petroleum Institute. OPEC, Russia and other producers agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of the year. They will reconvene on May 25 to discuss the potential of extending the agreement through the second half of 2017. Analysts are pessimistic the extension will carry, based on concerns that OPEC would lose market share to the United States, whose shale oil sector has helped push domestic inventories to record levels.
(Based on weekly data provided by the EIA)
Crude oil prices declined $3 last week, settling at $49.62 on Friday – the lowest daily settlement since March 29
Wholesale gasoline prices are 10 cents less than a week ago
U.S. crude inventories declined 0.10 percent to 1.2 million barrels
Domestic crude production rose 17 barrels a day to 9.3 million
Gasoline demand declined by 0.56 percent
Gasoline inventories remain slightly lower than last year, but climbed more than a half percent compared to the week before
Gasoline production rose 1.4 percent; eclipsing year-ago levels
Refineries increased capacity 4 percentage points; surpassing year-ago levels
Daily national, state, and metro gas price averages can be found at Gasprices.aaa.com. Motorists can find the lowest gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.