Ahead of what is expected to be the most traveled Independence Day on record, gas prices in Western Pennsylvania are about the same this week at $3.053 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.
On the week, motorists in West Virginia (+3 cents) and Washington, D.C. (+2 cents) were the only states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region to see gas prices increase. Other states saw pump prices drop by a penny or remain stable since last Monday. In the region, Connecticut ($3.08), New York ($3.01), Washington, D.C. ($3.01) and Pennsylvania ($3.01) carry the most expensive state gas price averages.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a decision to change the Air Quality Plan and eliminate the low-grade summer gasoline (7.8-lb RVP) mandate during the May 1 – Sept 15 summer driving season for six western Pennsylvania counties. This type of gasoline is more expensive to produce as compared to winter-blend. The impacted counties include Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmorland counties. The lift of the mandate is set to go into effect August 14, pending any objections. However, it is unclear if suppliers will deliver the lower grade gasoline into the market this summer.
With a build of 1.2 million barrels, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region saw the largest build of any in the country. Sitting at 67 million, inventory measures at the highest level since June 2017 according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. The higher inventory levels are contributing towards cheaper gas prices.
This week’s average prices: Western Pennsylvania Average: $3.053
Average price during the week of June 25, 2018: $3.056
Average price during the week of July 3, 2017: $2.475
The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:
$2.989 Du Bois
$3.007 New Castle
$2.999 New Kensington
On the National Front
At $2.86, gas prices are at their highest point for an Independence Day holiday in four years. However, for the nearly 40 million motorists expected to travel this week, they will find prices at the pump 11-cents cheaper than this past Memorial Day holiday. The national gas price average has held fairly steady for the past 10 days, suggesting that U.S. demand is keeping pace with supply and stabilizing summer gas prices. However, elevated crude oil prices and other geopolitical concerns could tilt gas prices more expensive in the early fall despite an expected increase in global crude production from OPEC and its partners.
AAA is tracking the following factors that could impact pump prices through the fall:
- Domestic crude inventories: For the first summer driving season in five years, the U.S. has seen the largest one-week reduction (9.9 million barrels) in crude inventories. A consistent decline in supplies could spark higher gas prices.
- Crude production and exports: Refinery runs are at an all-time high and exports are at record levels, which impacts supply levels.
- Gasoline demand: The latest EIA data shows U.S. demand at 9.7 million b/d, one of the highest levels of the year, and could hit a new record with Independence Day holiday travel.
- Crude oil prices: Last week, crude oil hit $74/bbl – its highest level since 2014.
- Geopolitical concerns: Market observers are watching crude production levels in Libya and Venezuela amid economic woes in Venezuela, and details on the Iran sanctions – all of which are influencing market prices.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate increased 70 cents to settle at $74.15. Crude prices reached new highs not seen since 2014 following developments that will impact supply in the coming months. These include: OPEC confirming that it will work with its partners to produce a record high 11 million barrels per day of crude in July: the U.S. seeking greater crude oil sanctions on Iran; and the continuing economic crisis in Venezuela.
Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide, and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 80 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
For More Information, Contact:
Jim Garrity, Public & Community Relations Manager
Desk: 412-365-7274 / Cell: 412-905-9021 / Email: Garrity.James@aaaec.com