In its petroleum report for last week, the Energy Information Administration revealed that total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 2 million bbl to 259.1 million bbl, while demand increased from 8.72 million b/d to 8.92 million b/d. The drop in supply as demand has increased contributed to higher pump prices this week. If these trends continue, American motorists are likely to continue seeing prices fluctuate as the winter driving season nears its end. Since Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by a penny to $2.45.
Largest Weekly Increases
- When compared to last Thursday, these 10 states have seen the largest increases in their averages: Indiana (+12 cents), Delaware (+10 cents), Ohio (+8 cents), New Mexico (+8 cents), Florida (+7 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Iowa (+6 cents), Texas (+6 cents), South Carolina (+6 cents) and Illinois (+6 cents).
At the close of Thursday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 50 cents to settle at $53.80. The domestic price of crude has increased by $1.75 per barrel so far this week and will likely end the week with additional gains. Prices have been pushed higher due to market optimism that efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus are increasing and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) might meet sooner than its scheduled meeting on March 5 and 6 in Vienna to reduce crude output beyond its current 1.7 million b/d production reduction agreement. However, earlier today, Russia – one of OPEC’s partners participating in the production reduction agreement – said that the cartel no longer sees a need to have the meeting sooner. This likely signals that crude prices may have turned a corner and could be headed for more increases ahead.