A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AAA: Kentucky gas prices down another 8 cents, second-largest drop in nation, after Florida

Kentucky’s average gas price dropped another 8 cents, week over week, to land at $2.54. The decline was the second-largest drop in the nation, trailing only Florida, which saw a 9 cent drop on average.

Kentucky’s current average gas price for regular unleaded is about 22 cents less than prices seen at this time in 2018 and 3 cents less than on the same day last month.

Prices dropping across much of the Bluegrass, nation

Lexington, Nicholasville and Versailles have some of the lowest prices in the state, with an average of $2.40, dropping 15, 16 and 11 cents in a week, respectively. Winchester has dropped 15 cents in the past week to settle at $2.50. Georgetown is averaging $2.43, while Richmond has dropped 13 cents over the past week to land at $2.62 and Berea has dropped 4 cents to land at $2.66.

Nationally, prices continue to edge downward. Today’s national average is $2.73, about 4 cents less than a week ago. While the national average is still two cents more expensive than a month ago, it is three cents cheaper than last week and 12 cents less expensive than a year ago.

On the week, every state but Michigan saw gas prices trend less expensive. The majority of the top 10 states with the largest weekly declines saw gas prices move a nickel cheaper since last Monday.

“Across the country, gas prices this month are about a dime less expensive than in July 2018. These less-expensive gas prices have encouraged summer road trips as evidenced by robust demand numbers since May,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “Right now, pump prices are poised to push even cheaper as we head into August.”

Continued drops in prices could be short-lived, however. Predictions of higher crude prices and lower domestic supplies could signal higher gas prices are just around the corner.

Quick stats across the nation

• The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Florida (-9 cents), Kentucky (-8 cents), Missouri (-5 cents), Iowa (-5 cents), Delaware (-5 cents), Kansas (-5 cents), South Carolina (-5 cents), Tennessee (-5 cents), Alaska (-5 cents) and Louisiana (-4 cents).
• The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.35), Louisiana ($2.36), Alabama ($2.38), Arkansas ($2.39), South Carolina ($2.40), Oklahoma ($2.42), Tennessee ($2.46), Texas ($2.48), Virginia ($2.48) and Kansas ($2.48).

Cheaper or stable prices expected in the Central U.S.

With a 4-cent jump, Michigan ($2.84) is the only state in the country to see gas prices increase on the week. In fact, four Great Lakes and Central states land on the top 10 list for largest weekly decreases in the country: Kentucky (-8 cents), Missouri (-5 cents), Iowa (-5 cents) and Kansas (-5 cents). In the region, gas prices range from $3.00 to $2.48.

Gas prices are declining as the region sees gasoline inventories remain robust at 50 million barrels and regional refinery utilization jumps to 99 percent—one of the highest rates in the country, per U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. While the region often sees volatility from week-to-week, should stock levels and utilization remain high, motorists can expect cheaper or stable gas prices in August.

Threat of higher crude prices on the horizon

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 18 cents to settle at $56.20. Crude prices mostly increased last week after EIA’s weekly report showed that total domestic crude inventories fell by 10.8 million bbl. With OPEC continuing to reduce crude production, tighter domestic crude supplies could cause prices to continue to increase if demand tightens.

Unresolved tension in the Middle East also contributed to price increases last week. Iran has not released the U.K.-flagged oil tanker it captured in the Strait of Hormuz. In response, the British Royal Navy announced that it would escort U.K.-flagged vessels in the region to protect against future attacks. If tensions continue to mount this week, crude prices will likely continue their ascent.

From AAA

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