A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Gas prices stabilize nationally as demand becomes more seasonal; Kentucky average at $2.42

The average Kentucky gas price dropped a penny from yesterday, but remains 4 cents higher than a week ago. The modest fluctuations are reflective of more stable prices across the country, as demand becomes more seasonal.

The current average gas price for Kentucky is currently $2.42, compared with $2.39 a month ago and $2.47 a year ago.

The average price for Lexington dropped 3 cents from yesterday, landing at $2.46, but still remains about 3 cents higher than a week ago. Lexington’s average gas price was $2.34 a month ago and $2.37 a year ago.

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) gasoline demand reading reflected the most fall-like numbers (9.1 million barrels per day) since the end of September. Despite lower demand, stocks drew by a significant 2.8 million barrels in part due to high exports. On the week, the national average increased one cent to $2.61.

“While most states, including Kentucky, are seeing more expensive gas prices on the week, the good news is that the majority of increases were nominal at a few pennies. In fact, only five states saw jumps of a nickel or more,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, manager, public and government affairs, AAA Blue Grass. “Motorists are likely to see continued fluctuation at the pump, but not major increases in the week ahead.”

Compared to a month ago, state averages are about a 50/50 split in being either more or less expensive. The vast majority of motorists are seeing savings at the pump compared to November 2018, some by as much as a quarter. Only six states are carrying averages more expensive than a year ago: California (+34 cents), Delaware (+11 cents), Nevada (+11 cents), Ohio (+8 cents), Arizona (+5 cents) and Oregon (+2 cents).

The nation’s top 10 largest monthly changes are: Idaho (+21 cents), Ohio (-18 cents), Alaska (+17 cents), Delaware (+15 cents), Utah (+14 cents), California (-14 cents), Illinois (-14 cents), Wisconsin (-11 cents), Michigan (-9 cents) and Washington (+9 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.22), Mississippi ($2.23), Texas ($2.28), South Carolina ($2.28), Missouri ($2.28), Alabama ($2.28), Arkansas ($2.30), Oklahoma ($2.32), Virginia ($2.32) and Tennessee ($2.35).

Central U.S. showed highest price volatility

South Dakota ($2.51) was the only Great Lakes and Central state with stable gas prices on the week. Motorists in Michigan (+11 cents) and Illinois (+5 cents) saw the largest pump price jumps on the week while two states saw prices decrease, but only by a penny: Nebraska ($2.46) and Ohio ($2.49). All other states saw gas prices increase by one to four cents.

The latest increases at the pump can be attributed to the large decrease in regional gasoline stocks – from 47.9 to 46.5 million barrels in EIA’s latest report. Stocks have been decreasing weekly since the end of September. Regional refinery utilization rates, which increased minimally from 90.1 percent to 90.6 percent, likely helped keep most state increases on the smaller scale. If stocks are able to increase along with refinery rates in coming weeks, then motorists might see cheaper gas prices later this month.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate, used as a benchmark in crude oil pricing, increased by 9 cents to settle at $57.24. Crude prices increased last week as a result of increased optimism that China and the U.S. – the world’s two largest crude consumers – are continuing to resolve ongoing trade tensions.

The trade conflict had previously sparked market fears that global crude demand would suffer as a result of increased tariffs between both countries. If trade relations between the U.S. and China continue to show improvement this week, crude prices may continue to increase.

In related news, EIA’s most recent weekly report showed that total domestic crude inventories increased by 7.9 million barrels last week, bringing the new total to 446.8 million barrels. The current level is 15 million barrels higher than last year’s level at this same time.

Motorists can use AAA Mobile app for current gas prices

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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