Throughout Northern New England motorists are seeing prices at the pump increase by as much as 10 cents from the same time last week. The national average is $2.88 and increase of 4 cents from last week. The rise in prices is connected to the announcement on Monday regarding the end of waivers for countries to import oil from Iran.
- Maine’s average current price is $2.80 per gallon, which is 10 cents higher than one week ago, and 23 cents higher than a month ago.
- New Hampshire’s average current price is $2.73 per gallon, which is 10 cents higher than one week ago, and 25 cents higher than a month ago.
- Vermont’s average current price is $2.80 per gallon, which is 7 cents higher than one week ago, and 20 cents higher than a month ago.
“With the end of the waiver sanctions, Americans could see increased gas prices this summer, leading to the national average flirting with the $3.00/gal mark,” said Dan Goodman, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England.
Oil market dynamics
At the end of Wednesday formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased $2.13 to settle at $65.89. U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose last week to their highest in about a year and a half as imports increased, even as refiners sharply ramped up output ahead of the summer driving season, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said April 24. Crude inventories rose by 5.5 million barrels in the week to April 19. At 460 million barrels, crude stocks sit at their highest since October 2017, not including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but are at the five year average for this time of year. Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 877,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) to 7.1 million bbl/d, the heaviest week for imports since mid-February.
In November of last year, the U.S. reimposed sanctions on exports of Iranian oil, however, waivers were granted to allow some countries to continue making limited oil purchases from Iran for six months. Decreases in Iranian oil exports would tighten the supply in the global market, which has already seen decreases as a result of the U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, along with OPEC’s reduced production. Secretary Pompeo also stated that he has “had extensive and productive discussions with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other major producers to ease this transition and ensure sufficient supply. This, in addition to increasing U.S. production, underscores our confidence that energy markets will remain well supplied.”