LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – After a rush during and following the Memorial Day weekend which coincided with the nation’s economy starting to slowly reopen, the rate at which gas prices are increasing across the country is slowing, accordng to AAA.
Thirty states only saw an increase of a penny or two during the past week, including Kentucky, causing the national average to push more expensive by just three cents to $2.13 since last Monday.
In Kentucky, the average for regular unleaded inched up a penny in the past week, landing at $2.
The slower rate can be tied to demand, according to the AAA weekly study.
Measuring at 7.87 million barrels per day, gasoline demand saw a small week-over-week decline and continues to be significantly lower (21%) compared to this week last year.
“Demand levels are likely to ebb and flow in the coming weeks as people continue to be cautious about travel,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager for AAA Blue Grass. “As a result, pump prices will likely continue to increase, but at a slower rate through the end of the month.”
Monday’s national average is 19 cents more expensive than a month ago, but remains significantly cheaper – 53 cents – than a year ago.
Monday’s average of $2 in Kentucky is up 31 cents from a month ago, but still considerably lower than the average of $2.51 seen a year ago. In Lexington, the average price held steady over the past week, remaining at $1.99. That’s 32 cents higher than a month ago.
In Nicholasville, the average price is down a penny after last week’s 18 cent climb, now at $1.92, while the average went up a penny in Georgetown, now $2.01. Versailles is also up a penny to at the $2 mark, as is Winchester, now at $2. Richmond is holding steady at $2.01.
- The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Delaware (+10 cents), West Virginia (+9 cents), North Dakota (+9 cents), Montana (+8 cents), Washington, D.C. (+6 cents), Virginia (+6 cents), Colorado (+6 cents), Ohio (+6 cents), Maryland (+5 cents) and Wisconsin (+5 cents).
- The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.76), Louisiana ($1.79), Alabama ($1.83), Arkansas ($1.83), Texas ($1.83), Oklahoma ($1.84), Missouri ($1.85), South Carolina ($1.86), Tennessee ($1.89) and Kansas ($1.92).
As forecasted, the bulk of the region saw smaller increases on the week at three cents or less, although two Great Lakes and Central states landed on the top 10 list for largest weekly jumps: North Dakota (+9 cents) and Ohio (+6 cents).
The region was just one of two regions to see stocks build. According to the Energy Information Association, stocks increased by 455,000 barrels to push total levels to 54.5 million barrles. On trend with the rest of the country, gas prices in the region will continue to increase, though at a slower rate, in the week ahead.
At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate, the oil-pricing benchmark, increased by 91 cents to settle at $39.75 per barrel. Domestic crude prices increased at the end of last week amid increased market optimism regarding trade relations between the U.S. and China, and greater focus on compliance with the production reduction agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners, including Russia, which has worked to cut global crude production by 9.7 million barrels per day since May 1, 2020.
It remains unclear if OPEC’s agreement will extend into August; it is currently set to expire at the end of July. For this week, crude prices will likely remain volatile as the market assesses if global crude demand will decrease due to a spike in new coronavirus infections worldwide.