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AAA: Gasoline prices remain mostly steady, despite demand at highest level in four nearly months

Gasoline demand increased on the week to the highest level (8.7 million barrels per day) since March as stocks decreased, but the combination still wasn’t enough to significantly impact gas price averages in Kentucky or across the country.

On the week, the national gas price average only increased a couple of pennies to land at $2.20. That is 10 cents more than last month and nearly 60 cents less than a year ago.

In Kentucky, the average dropped a penny to $2.06. A month ago, the average for Kentucky sat at $1.99, while a year ago the average in the Commonwealth was at $2.68.

“The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data shows gasoline demand and supply continue on a roller coaster ride,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “As motorists react to unfolding COVID-19 information, we are seeing driving behaviors ebb and flow across the country, which is reflected with the ebb and flow of demand at the pump.”

From May to early July in 2019, gasoline demand averaged 9.5 million barrels per day. For the same time period this year, demand is measuring at 8 million barrels per day, while gasoline stocks sit at a 24 million-barrel surplus, on average. The low demand and high supply are keeping gas prices relatively cheap for the summertime.

Gas Prices Around the Bluegrass

It was only a couple weeks ago that Kentucky found itself on the top 10 leaderboard for biggest week-over-week jump in gas prices. Prices have settled down across the Bluegrass since, with several communities seeing prices average slightly less than just a week ago. As stated, today’s average of $2.06 in Kentucky down a penny from last week and only 7 cents higher than a month ago, and considerably lower than the average of $2.68 seen a year ago. In Lexington, the average price is down 4 cent in the past week, landing at $2.07. That’s just 8 cents higher than a month ago.

In Nicholasville, the average price is down 5 cents, now at $1.98. Georgetown is also down 5 cents, now averaging $2.04. Versailles is lower by 2 cents, landing at $2.14, while Winchester is down 5 cents to land at $1.97. Richmond has fallen 4 cents, moving from $2.13 to $2.09 on the week.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Indiana (+11 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), Delaware (+7 cents), Maryland (+5 cents), Ohio (+4 cents), Oregon (+4 cents), Illinois (+4 cents), Vermont (+4 cents), Washington (+4 cents) and Connecticut (+3 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.84), Louisiana ($1.85), Texas ($1.88), Arkansas ($1.88), Alabama ($1.89), Oklahoma ($1.89), Missouri ($1.91), South Carolina ($1.94), Tennessee ($1.94) and Kansas ($1.98).

Around the Region

Central and Great Lakes states. Kentucky’s neighbors to the north are still seeing prices edge upward. Indiana (+11 cents) and Michigan (+9 cents) had the highest gas price increases on the week in the country. Ohio (+4 cents) and Illinois (+4 cents) also land on the top 10 list for largest jump, though their increases are notably less. All other states in the Central region saw pump price increases of only a few cents, if at all.

Even with the increases, motorists in the Central region are paying 50 to 75 cents less a gallon to fill up compared to last July. Illinois (-76 cents), Indiana (-69 cents), Michigan (-69 cents) and Ohio (-68 cents) have among the largest year-over-year differences in the country.

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With a 2 million-barrels draw, the Central region saw stocks decrease for a third week in a row, down to 50.6 million barrels. This drops total stock levels to not only the lowest measurement of the year, but the lowest since December 2019, according to Energy Information Administration data. If stock levels continue to push lower, the region can expect to see incremental price changes at the pump.

Southeast States

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s neighbors to the south and east saw prices remain mostly steady over the past week. Tennessee’s average gas price remains steady at $1.94 week-over-week, and that’s 58 cents less than a year ago. West Virginia is down a penny from last week, tracking with the national average of $2.20, which is 48 cents cheaper than this time last year. Virginia is up 2 cents to land the $2 mark, but is still at 50 cents less than a year ago.

Stocks in the Southeast/Southern region increased by nearly a half a million barrels to push closer to the 92 million barrels mark — which is about 10 million barrels more than this time last year. This extremely healthy supply of gasoline stocks will help to minimize fluctuation at the pump in this region in the weeks ahead.

Oil Market Dynamics

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, the benchmark WTI increased by 93 cents to settle at $40.55 per barrel. Domestic crude prices were volatile last week after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories increased by 5.7 million barrels to 539.2 million barrels. Increasing crude stocks could mean that crude production is still too high given where demand is currently, as new coronavirus outbreaks emerge. If EIA’s data shows another increase in total domestic supply this week, crude prices could decline.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

From AAA Blue Grass

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