A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Gas demand low, national average decreases for first time since April; Kentucky prices rise by 3 cents


As COVID-19 case numbers surpass 4 million, demand for gasoline is weakening across the nation. That’s made for lower prices in many areas of the country, but not here in the Bluegrass.

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) demand reading measures at 8.5 million barrels per day, which is about 11 percent less than a year ago. The lower demand contributed to a cheaper national average on the week – down one penny to $2.18. This is the first time since late April that the national average has declined.

“While Kentucky’s average price has continued to inch upward, pump prices are mostly pushing cheaper across the rest of the country as gasoline demand wanes over the past few weeks,” says Lori Weaver Hawkins, manager, public and government affairs, AAA Blue Grass. “Gas prices are likely to fluctuate throughout the rest of the summer due to COVID-19 concerns, with the national average possibly reaching $2.25.”

Monday’s national average of $2.18 is one cent more than last month and 56 cents cheaper than last year. Motorists can find gas for $2.25 or less at 70 percent of gas stations across the country, including Kentucky.

Gas Prices Around the Bluegrass
Monday’s average of $2.05 in Kentucky is up 3 cents from last week, but still down 7 cents from a month ago, and considerably lower than the average of $2.57 seen a year ago. In Lexington, the average price is up 6 cent from the past week, landing at $2.08. That’s 6 cents lower than a month ago.

In Nicholasville, the average price is up 6 cents, now at the $2 mark. Georgetown is up 8 cents, now averaging $2.02. Versailles is down 2 cents to land at $2.11, while Winchester is up 11 cents to land at $2.02. Richmond is up 14 cents, landing at $2.15.

Quick stats
-The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Michigan (-5 cents), Indiana (-4 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents), Idaho (+3 cents), Wyoming (+3 cents), Maryland (+3 cents), Texas (-3 cents), California (+2 cents), Wisconsin (-2 cents) and Florida (-2 cents).

-The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.83), Louisiana ($1.85), Arkansas ($1.88), Texas ($1.88), Alabama ($1.89), South Carolina ($1.89), Missouri ($1.90), Oklahoma ($1.90), Tennessee ($1.91) and Kansas ($1.97).

Around the region
Central States

Kentucky’s neighbors to the north are seeing savings at the pump on the week. With a decrease of as much as a nickel, these states land on the top 10 list for largest weekly decreases: Michigan (-5 cents), Indiana (-4 cents), and Wisconsin (-2 cents). At $2.36, Illinois carries the most expensive average in the region and Missouri ($1.90) has the least expensive.

After a one-week build, stocks declined by 600,000 barrels to push total levels back to 50 million barrels. Since late May, when many states started to reopen, regional stocks have declined by 5 million barrels, according to EIA data. Total measurement levels are reflective of the typical summertime in the region.

Southeast States

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s neighbors to the south and east saw prices remain mostly steady over the past week.

Gas prices are as much as three cents cheaper across the Southeast region compared to last week with South Carolina ($1.89) and Florida ($2.05) seeing the biggest savings. These two states also land on the top 10 list for largest weekly changes in the country. In the southeast region, state averages range from $1.83 to $2.05, which are among the cheapest in the country.

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Replenishing last week’s draw in the Southeast, stocks built by 2.1 million barrels in EIA’s latest report -pushing levels up to 89.7 million barrels. That is nearly 5 million barrels ahead of last year and 10.5 million barrels above the five-year average. This healthy level of supply will continue to help keep gas prices cheaper than last summer.

Meanwhile, to the east of Kentucky, West Virginia’s average is now $2.15, while Virginia sits right at the $2 mark.

Oil Market Dynamics

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, the benchmark Western Texas Intermediate increased by 22 cents to settle at $41.29 per barrel. Domestic crude prices increased due to a slight decrease in the value of the U.S. dollar. However, crude prices could fall this week, since EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic inventories increased by 4.9 million barrels. The increase, amid falling gasoline demand, could mean that the domestic crude market is oversupplied.

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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