AAA GAS BRIEF: After Forecasted Rise, Gas Prices Starting to Trend Down at the Pumps
By AAA // March 6, 2018
Prices highest for Month of March in Four Years
(AAA)– Gas prices moved higher last week, as was forecast by AAA. However, prices at the pump are beginning to trend lower yet again.
“Gas prices are usually volatile during the spring, with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“Wholesale gasoline prices lowered late last week, which should allow retail to do the same. While motorists could see gas prices drift a few cents lower in the short term, they should expect more surprises this spring.
In total, pump prices could rise 20-30 cents before the summer, as refineries work through scheduled maintenance and prepare for the switch to summer-blend gasoline.”
Florida gas prices increased an average of 4 cents last week, before declining a penny during the weekend. The state average of $2.54 is 7 cents less than a month ago, yet motorists are paying 25 cents more per gallon compared to this time last year.
- The most expensive gas price averages in Florida are in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.67), Naples ($2.62), and Miami ($2.60)
- The least expensive gas price averages in Florida are in Jacksonville ($2.47), Punta Gorda ($2.48), Melbourne-Titusville ($2.49)
- The largest price hikes during the past week were in Pensacola (4 cents), Tampa Bay (4 cents), and Jacksonville (4 cents)
A Look Ahead – Spring and Summer Gasoline
Motorists will start to see gas prices make their spring spike in early April. That’s when refinery maintenance is expected to be wrapped up and the switchover to more expensive summer-blend gasoline kicks in along with warmer weather and typical demand increases.
Consumers can expect prices to increase throughout April, May and into the start of summer.
AAA expects summer gas prices to be just as expensive as spring prices, but with the potential that they may not increase at such a quick rate.
Heading into summer, a variety of factors including U.S. gasoline supply-demand levels, domestic gasoline production rates, and global crude demand will help better shape the summer forecast.
Why Gas Prices Are Falling Now:
Oil and gasoline futures dropped, following a bearish report from the EIA last week, allowing gas prices to point lower. The weekly fuel snapshot showed strong U.S. crude production, weak gasoline demand, and larger-than-anticipated growth in domestic gasoline and crude inventories.
According to the EIA report:
- Domestic crude production reached a new weekly high reading of 10.3 million barrels per day.
- Crude stocks are nearly 3 percent higher than earlier this year, but nearly 20 percent lower than a year ago.
- Gulf Coast gasoline supplies grew by more than 2 percent on the week, raising inventories 4 percent higher than this time last year.
- Gasoline demand fell nearly 2 percent below the previous week, yet remains nearly 4 percent higher than a year ago.
- Refinery maintenance is ongoing as is evidenced in the report. Refinery activity sits at 87 percent; the same as the week before.
Highs and Lows of 2018
- National: the highest average price for gasoline was $2.67 on February 6; the lowest was $2.49 on January 3.
- Florida: the highest average price in was $2.68 on February 8; the lowest was $2.44 on January 2.
- Georgia: the highest average price was $2.49 on January 31; the lowest was $2.35 on January 2.
- Tennessee: the highest average price was $2.41 on February 7; the lowest was $2.26 on January 1.
Gas Price Tools for Reporters/Consumers
- GasPrices.AAA.com – Daily national, state, and metro gas price averages.
- AAA Mobile app – Free app that shows current prices at a gas station near you.
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