Motorists in New England and throughout the country saw gas prices increase for another week as crude oil prices topped the $60 mark and a number of refineries continued planned and unplanned maintenance. At $2.59, the national gas price average is 7 cents more expensive on the week and 22-cents more than last month.
- Maine’s average current price is $2.54 per gallon, which is 8 cents higher than one week ago, and 22 cents higher than a month ago.
- New Hampshire’s average current price is $2.46 per gallon, which is 8 cents higher than one week ago, and 18 cents higher than a month ago.
- Vermont’s average current price is $2.55 per gallon, which is 6 cents higher than one week ago, and 16 cents higher than a month ago.
“As the weather warms, more people are driving, which is causing an increase in demand for retail gasoline and at the same time supplies are shrinking as refineries go offline to prepare for the manufacture of summer-blend gasoline,” said Dan Goodman, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England. “With spring refinery maintenance season getting underway, drivers can expect retail gasoline prices to continue to rise.
Oil market dynamics
At the close of Wednesday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI continued to increase and settled at over $60. Oil prices took a hit last week as the market continued to have concerns about the global economy slowing this year, which could weaken global crude demand later this year. Moving into this week, prices will likely remain volatile following news from OPEC that it will not hold a meeting this April regarding its crude reduction pact with other global crude producers. Instead, OPEC will meet on June 25-26 to allow the cartel more time to determine if it should work with its partners to extend the crude production reduction agreement beyond June.
Prices were also volatile last week after new data from EIA revealed that total domestic crude inventories declined last week by 3.8 million bbl to 449.1 million bbl, which is roughly 20 million bbl higher than last year’s level at this time. Some market observers believe increased crude production from the U.S., which hit 12 million b/d last week, will help to meet global crude demand as global supply tightens due to OPEC’s 1.2 million b/d reduction agreement in place for the first six months of 2019 and U.S.-imposed sanctions on crude exports from Iran and Venezuela – two major global crude producers.
In related news, Baker Hughes Inc. reported that the U.S. lost one oilrig last week, bringing the total to 833. When compared to last year at this time, there are 33 more rigs this 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