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Gas prices continue to fall across Kentucky, but geopolitical concerns could mean big changes ahead

Gas prices are falling across the Bluegrass, but relief at the pump may not last if geopolitical concerns begin to impact crude oil prices.

Kentucky’s average gas price is $2.67, dropping another 8 cents from last week and putting the Commonwealth fifth on the leaderboard for greatest fall in price, week over week. In Lexington, motorists welcomed another 12 cent drop in prices on the heels of last week’s 15 cent plunge.

Average gas prices still remain 36 and 23 cents above a year ago for Kentucky and Lexington, respectively.

A larger-than-expected growth in crude levels shocked the market last week, leading crude prices to fall and helping to drive gas prices down. Although lower gas prices are expected this time of year, concerns about global supply and geopolitical tensions could have prices edging back up in the coming weeks and into 2019.

“Some motorists across the country are seeing gas prices more than a dime cheaper than last week, with Kentucky joining 40 other states having less expensive state averages on the week,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, AAA spokesperson. “Prices are finally falling after several weeks of increases and the general forecast nationwide is for softer prices the next two weeks, but change could be on the horizon. The U.S. announcement of imposed sanctions on Iran’s crude exports and other geopolitical impacts are likely to see gas prices rising again as we finish out the year and going into 2019.”

Kentucky had the fifth greatest decline in average gas prices, week over week, with nearby Ohio leading the nation in amount of decline.

Prices declined across Kentucky, with the Henderson, Ky., area seeing the greatest drop at minus 37 cents. After posting a welcomed 15 cent drop last week, Lexington average gas prices fell an additional 12 cents, from $2.72 to the current $2.60.

Despite the recent decline, gas prices remain 36 cents higher than they were a year ago and analysts say motorists may see prices on the upswing again, depending on a number of geopolitical factors.

In the middle of the country, several states land on this week’s top 10 list with the biggest declines for a second week: Ohio (-12 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Indiana (-10 cents), Kentucky (-8 cents), Iowa (-7 cents) Illinois (-7 cents) and Missouri (-6 cents).

South Dakota ($2.89) has the most expensive gas price average this week, followed by North Dakota ($2.86) and Illinois ($2.82). With significant price drops this week, Ohio ($2.57) and Missouri ($2.59) have the cheapest price in the region and rank among the top 10 least expensive pump prices in the country.

The national gas price average is $2.85. That is six-cents cheaper than this month’s highest price of $2.91, which was the most expensive average during the month of October since 2014. Today’s price is also four cents cheaper than last week, the same price as a month ago and 39- cents more than this time last year.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Delaware ($2.56), Ohio ($2.57), South Carolina ($2.58), Mississippi ($2.58), Missouri ($2.59), Alabama ($2.60), Louisiana ($2.60), Texas ($2.61), Arkansas ($2.61) and Oklahoma ($2.61).

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Ohio (-12 cents), Delaware (-10 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Indiana (-10 cents), Kentucky (-8 cents), Iowa (-7 cents), Maryland (-7 cents), Illinois (-7 cents), Oklahoma (-7 cents) and Missouri (-6 cents).
Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 47 cents to settle at $69.12. The crude market mostly saw losses last week following EIA’s latest weekly petroleum report, which showed domestic crude inventories grew by 6.5 million bbl. Total crude inventories now sit at 416.4 million bbl, marking the fourth week of consecutive growth and highest level since late June. The larger-than-expected growth in crude levels shocked the market, leading crude prices to fall. Prices could rise again due to concerns about U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations and upcoming U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran’s crude exports.

In related news, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. gained four oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 873. When compared to last year at this time, there are 137 more rigs now than in 2017.

AAA offers these tips to motorists to save at the pump:

• If your vehicle’s engine does not require premium or mid-grade fuel, don’t buy it. Using anything other than regular grade is simply a waste of money.

• Don’t top off your gas tank. Stop filling after the automatic nozzle shuts off the second time.

• If you have to replace a gas cap, make sure it is the right one for your car. An ill-fitting cap will increase emissions and trigger the “check engine” light.

• Keep track of gas mileage. If you notice a sudden decrease in fuel economy, have your vehicle checked by a technician to ensure it is operating properly.

• Check for proper tire pressure, which can fluctuate greatly with changing temperatures.

• 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

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