At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $55.10 per barrel, 93 cents higher than last Friday’s close. Throughout the week, crude prices drifted between $53 and $57, rising on Thursday as China de-escalated trade tensions with the U.S., confirming preparation talks for renewed trade negotiations. A large decrease in U.S. crude inventories, coupled with continued tensions between the U.S. and Iran, supported prices during the week but were kept in check by speculations over a potential recession.
“Drivers taking one last summer road trip for the Labor Day holiday are seeing gas prices lower than they were for both the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays,” says Ragina C. Ali, Manager, of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Many local drivers should see prices at the pump about 30 cents lower than they were just one year ago.”
The Week Ahead
As Hurricane Dorian takes aim at Florida in the coming days, it is unlikely to impact critical Gulf Coast refining infrastructure like Hurricane Harvey did in 2017, which means local gas prices should remain unaffected. However, leading up to the hurricane’s landfall, gas supplies are likely to tighten in Florida. Depending on the weather prior to the storm’s arrival, fuel deliveries could be reduced, limiting fuel supply at terminals and at Florida fueling stations. Gas prices could see spikes locally and regionally as motorists flock to stations to top-off vehicles, potentially causing panic buying. The severity of the storm will determine access to fuel supply and impact on gas prices in Florida. As in any national or local state of emergency, AAA expects gas prices to remain stable -- up and down the gasoline supply chain -- including prices set by refiners, distributors and dealers.