CINCINNATI, Oh. (March 4, 2019) –Pump prices rose steadily across the country in February, a month that saw a number of refineries undergoing planned and unplanned maintenance, and an increase in crude oil prices. Motorists may not get a break at the pump anytime soon.
The national average is $2.42 and has increased nearly 20-cents since the beginning of the year, which is the largest jump during the January-February timeframe since 2015.
Locally, Ohio motorists are paying an average of $2.35 per gallon, nearly 25-cents more than a month ago.
“Pump prices have been pushed higher this week due to reduced gasoline stock levels and increased demand,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokesperson. “Motorists can expect gas prices to continue to increase as refineries gear up for spring gasoline production and maintenance season.”
Regional inventories drew by 911,000 bbl on the week to drop to a total of 58.5 million bbl, according to EIA data. For a second week, refinery utilization increased, which is a promising sign for the region and likely helped to keep gas prices from jumping dramatically. Should inventories build and utilization remains positive, motorists could see fluctuating gas prices.
Oil market dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped $1.42 to settle at $55.80. Oil prices took a downward turn last week due to concerns that global crude demand may be lower than expected. Moving into this week, crude prices may rise on optimism that the United States and China are closer to a deal that resolves the ongoing trade spat between two of the world’s largest economies. Tightened global supply due to OPEC’s 1.2 million b/d production reduction agreement (which will be through June 2019) and decreased crude exports from Venezuela and Iran could also help prices increase.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.