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Thursday, May 23, 2024

AAA: Pump Prices Ease As Oil Market Digests Economic News

Gas pump with hand removing nozzle (WYDaily photo/Adobe)
(WYDaily photo/Adobe)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The national average for a gallon of gas drifted lower by three cents over the last week to $3.47, according to AAA Tidewater, as last week’s decision by OPEC+ to maintain current production levels and not make any cuts led to lower oil prices.

But AAA said Friday’s report of 517,000 jobs added in January, dropping the U.S. unemployment rate to a 54-year low of 3.4%, may mean recession fears are fading, and a healthier global economy could lead to more demand for oil and higher prices.

“Keep an eye on the price of oil,” said Ryan Adcock, AAA Tidewater public relations specialist, “because oil currently accounts for nearly 60% of what we pay at the pump. And rising or falling oil prices can have a direct impact on motorists’ wallets.”

Despite rising gas demand, total supply growth has helped limit pump price increases. According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand rose from 8.14 million to 8.49 million barrels per day last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks increased by 2.6 million barrels to 234.6 million.

Monday’s national average of $3.47 is 18 cents more than a month ago and four cents more than a year ago.

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases:

  • Delaware (−15 cents)
  • Ohio (−12 cents)
  • Maryland (−9 cents)
  • South Carolina (−9 cents)
  • Tennessee (−9 cents)
  • Alabama (−8 cents)
  • Michigan (−8 cents)
  • Indiana (−8 cents)
  • Florida (−8 cents)
  • Virginia (−8 cents) 
(AAA Tidewater)

Locally, the gas price average for the commonwealth decreased to $3.34, eight cents lower than a week ago, but 16 cents higher than a month ago. In Hampton Roads, prices decreased 11 cents to $3.31, 14 cents higher than last month and five cents higher than a year ago.

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