Gasoline Demand at Record Highs for April as Pump Prices Continue to Rise

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Today’s national gas price average has reached the highest price per gallon since 2015, hitting $2.80. The last time the national average for unleaded regular gasoline was this expensive was June 13-20, 2015.

“Pump prices are causing sticker shock across the country,” said Dan Goodman, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England. “It is likely the price will creep up even higher over the weekend and may continue to climb.”

 

  • Vermont’s average current price is $2.81 per gallon, which is 8 cents higher than one week ago, and 38 cents higher than one year ago.
     
  • New Hampshire’s average current price is $2.72 per gallon, which is 6 cents higher than one week ago and 39 cents higher than one year ago.
     
  • Maine’s current price is $2.81 per gallon, which is 7 cents higher than one week ago and 41 cents higher than one year ago.

 

Oil market dynamics

The market saw increased volatility on Friday morning due to President Trump’s tweet that criticized OPEC’s efforts to restrict global crude supply and raise the price per barrel, but later in the day, crude prices rebounded to the highs they experienced  earlier in the week. The jump in price per barrel occurred after Wednesday’s EIA weekly report revealed that crude inventories across the U.S.  dropped by a combined 1.1 million bbl. They now sit at 427.6 million bbl – nearly 105 million bbl lower than their level in mid-April 2017. If EIA’s report this week reveals another inventory draw, crude prices are likely to continue climbing.

The year-over-year decline in oil inventories is a result of OPEC’s agreement with large non-OPEC producers to reduce crude production by 1.8 million b/d which was put into place in January 2017. The agreement is supposed to remain in effect until the end of 2018. However, last week Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that producers in the agreement may begin easing output curbs sooner because the agreement has cleared out the glut of crude that the producers aimed to reduce. Saudi Arabia, a leading member of the cartel, is likely to push back on any efforts to end the production reduction agreement prior to the end of the year because WTI prices could reach $80-$100 by that time. Representatives from both countries are likely to discuss the matter at OPEC’s upcoming meeting in Vienna, Austria on June 20 and 21.

In related news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. gained five active oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 820. The total is up 132 rigs when compared to the rig count at this time last year.

Motorists can find current 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.