AAA: Crude oil hits highest price in nearly 3 years pushing up national pump average

Virginia’s average remains unchanged on the week, down a penny from a month ago
AAA reports that crude oil has increased to its highest price since October 2018.
AAA reports that crude oil has increased to its highest price since October 2018.(WHSV)
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 1:27 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - AAA reports that at $70/bbl (barrels of oil), crude oil has increased to its highest price since October 2018 and is now $23/bbl more expensive than it was this past January.

Crude prices have steadily climbed this year along with optimism for the COVID-19 vaccine and the promising impact it will have for global gasoline demand, according to Monday’s release.

“Drivers are paying, on average, 37% more to fill up than the start of the year,” said Morgan Dean, AAA spokesperson. “Prices for the rest of the month are likely to push more expensive, but if crude production increases, as forecasted, there is the possibility of seeing some relief at the pump later this summer.”

AAA says market analysts are keeping a close eye on global supply and demand levels. They are especially eager to see if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and its allies including Russia, follow through with production increases next month.

This move could help put downward pressure on crude prices and, in turn, push gas prices less expensive. However, motorists likely would not see any impact at the pump until mid-to-late July, experts say.

AAA reports that Virginia’s average ($2.92) is the same as last Monday, down one cent from last month, but up $1.06 from this day in 2020.  Today’s national gas price average is $3.08, which is three cents more on the week, a nickel more on the month and 98 cents more on the year.

The latest increases at the pump are attributed to the steady climb in crude prices, especially as demand decreased (−670,000 b/d) and supply increased (+7 million bbl), according to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. The decrease in demand was surprising as it reflects the Memorial Day holiday, which was expected to inject higher gasoline demand, AAA says.

The new report is fanning market concerns that inflation is driving prices higher. They add that crude prices were bolstered by EIA’s latest report revealing that total domestic crude supplies decreased by 5.2 million bbl to 474 million bbl last week. For this week, crude prices could continue to rise if EIA’s report shows another inventory decline.

Harrisonburg saw no change this week. For more on gas prices in your region, click here.

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