Expect highest Memorial Day gas prices in 4 years

Gas prices in South Central Ohio are up by six cents over last week to $2.876 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

As gas prices continue to increase across the country, two Great Lakes and Central states have averages of $3 or more: Illinois ($3.04) and Michigan ($3.00). Statewide, Ohio’s gas average ($2.868) is six cents higher than last week, and 51 cents higher than this time last year.

Gasoline inventories have been declining week-over-week for two months. However, with the latest draw (1.6 million barrels), gasoline inventories measure at 54 million barrels, which is about one million more than this time last year.

Monday’s average prices in South Central Ohio was $2.876. The average price during the week of May 14 was $2.814. The average price during the week of May 22 a year ago was $2.349. The highest average price per gallon of gasoline in southern Ohio was $2.982 in Athens, $2.958 in Jackson, $2.952 in Washington Courth House and $2.942 in Hillsboro. The lowest average price per gallon for unleaded self-serve gasoline was $2.710 in Columbiana and $2.711 in East Liverpool. The average price per gallon for Portsmouth was reported to be $2.883.

On the National Front

Gas prices jumped 12 cents over the past 14 days, and six cents since last Monday, landing the national average at $2.93 – the highest price point going into the Memorial Day weekend since 2014.

Monday, 14 states tout an average of $3 or more.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate fell 21 cents to settle at $71.28. Oil prices edged higher last week following the release of Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly petroleum report that showed total crude inventories dropped by 1.4 million barrels. If this week’s EIA report shows another inventory draw, we can expect crude prices to continue climbing.

Additionally, at 2.57 million barrels per day, crude exports last week saw the highest rate ever recorded by EIA. The new record rate was 690,000 b/d more than the previous week and 1.48 million barrels per day more than this time last year.

Although the U.S. did not add any active oil rigs last week, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the current total – 844 – is 124 more rigs than this time last year.

Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide and countywide at GasPrices.AAA.com.