LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Kentucky now ranks fourth in the nation in terms of least expensive gasoline, as prices plummeted another 11 cents in the past week to land at $1.58.
That’s down from last week’s $1.69 average and about 67 cents less than a month ago.
Last year at this time, the average price for unleaded in Kentucky was at $2.67.
In Lexington and Fayette County, prices now average about $1.52 for regular unleaded, down from $2.29 just a month ago.
Last year, the average price of unleaded in Lexington was $2.71. Other local average prices today are Richmond at $1.75, Nicholasville at $1.51, Georgetown at $1.48, and Frankfort at $1.56.
Demand at lowest since 1993
Today’s national gas price average is $1.92. That is 9 cents cheaper than last Monday, 48 cents less than a month ago and 81 cents less expensive than a year ago. On the week, pump prices continued to push less expensive with gasoline demand registering at its lowest point since 1993. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) weekly report puts demand at 6.7 million barrels a day—a nearly 30-year low—and it’s likely to push lower as Americans are urged to stay at home at least until the beginning of May.
“This week, market analysts are watching crude oil prices, which started to increase at the end of last week,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “However, given the low demand readings, increases in crude aren’t likely to have an impact on gas prices in the near-term.”
In addition to crude oil, market analysts are also watching refinery rates. The U.S. refinery utilization average is down to 82 percent, a low not seen since September 2017. Given the drop in crude oil and gasoline demand, which is expected to push even lower, refineries are reducing production in hopes this could help to balance the amount of gasoline supply in the country.
Quick stats across the nation
Kentucky saw some of the greatest decreases over the past week, landing it in the number four spot for least expensive markets, just a few pennies above Ohio, which ranked third.
- The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Wisconsin (-16 cents), Vermont (-15 cents), Idaho (-14 cents), Alaska (-12 cents), Iowa (-12 cents), Kentucky (-11 cents), Arkansas (-10 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Michigan (-10 cents) and Arizona (-10 cents).
- The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Wisconsin ($1.43), Oklahoma ($1.47), Ohio ($1.55), Kentucky ($1.58), Michigan ($1.61), Indiana ($1.62), Mississippi ($1.63), Arkansas ($1.64), Texas ($1.65) and Iowa ($1.66).
Central Region can expect continued low prices
Five Great Lakes and Central States are seeing the largest year-over-year savings in the region and the country with pump prices that are at least $1/gallon cheaper: Wisconsin (-$1.30), Michigan (-$1.23), Indiana (-$1.17), Ohio (-$1.12) and Kentucky (-$1.08).
On the week, gas prices are 7 to 16 cents cheaper. In the region, all state averages are less than $2/gallon. Six Great Lakes and Central States land on the top 10 list for least expensive averages: Wisconsin ($1.43), Ohio ($1.55), Kentucky ($1.58), Michigan ($1.61), Indiana ($1.62) and Iowa ($1.66). Wisconsin carries the cheapest average in the region and the country. At $1.95, Illinois carries the most expensive average in the region.
The region added 1.7 million barrels last week, pushing total stock levels up to nearly 58 million barrels, according to the latest data from EIA. The increase in stocks will contribute to sustained lower pump prices in the region this week.
Oil Market Dynamics
At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), used as a benchmark in oil pricing, increased by $3.02 to settle at $28.34 per barrel. Domestic crude prices increased at the end of last week, following news that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners, including Russia, planned to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss potential crude production cuts amid the global oversupply caused by COVID-19.
However, OPEC and its partners have moved the meeting to Thursday, April 9. Crude prices are likely to remain volatile this week until the meeting, where the market will be looking to see if production cuts are enacted and if they are drastic enough to curb the growing oversupply of crude in the global market.