AAA: Ohio Gas Prices Increase Slightly Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Staff Report

The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is one cent higher this week at $1.874 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

The nation’s largest weekly gas price increases can be found for a second week in the Great Lakes and Central States region. Five states from the region land on the top 10 list for largest jumps, although this week’s increases are less than a dime: Wisconsin (+7 cents), Iowa (+7 cents), Kansas (+7 cents), Nebraska (+5 cents) and Minnesota (+5 cents).

With increases over the last two weeks, Illinois ($2.13) is the only state in the region whose average has jumped back over $2/gallon. At $1.86, Indiana carries the second most expensive average in the region, while Missouri ($1.54) touts the cheapest.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that regional gasoline stocks have decreased for six straight weeks, bringing total stock levels down to the lowest measurement of the year at 54 million barrels. However, stocks remain above the year-ago level of 49.5 million barrels and a five-year average of 52.6 million barrels.

This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $1.874

Average price during the week of May 11, 2020 $1.862

Average price during the week of May 20, 2019 $2.718

The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:

$1.890 Athens

$1.868 Chillicothe

$1.923 Columbiana

$1.936 East Liverpool

$1.887 Gallipolis

$1.832 Hillsboro

$1.881 Ironton

$1.894 Jackson

$1.899 Logan

$1.899 Marietta

$1.863 Portsmouth

$1.843 Steubenville

$1.743 Washington Court House

$1.871 Waverly

On the National Front

Pump prices continue to increase across the country with nearly every state’s average pushing more expensive on the week, on average by four cents. At the start of the Memorial Day work week, the national gas price average is $1.87.

The last time the national gas price average leading into the holiday was under $2/gallon was 17 years ago in 2003. That year motorists paid, on average, $1.50 to fill-up. Gas prices this year won’t be as cheap as 2003, but today’s national average is a dollar cheaper than one year ago. While Memorial Day gas prices are likely to remain this cheap, this year’s unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel as the country continues to practice social distancing.

Americans can expect gas prices to continue to push more expensive, possibly hitting $2/gallon in the next few weeks. This is mostly due to demand increasing as states re-open. This week will also bring the Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver on the sale of winter-blend gasoline to an end. Stations will switch over to summer-blend gasoline, which is more expensive to produce. Typically, the switchover to summer-blend can cause gas prices to spike during the summer driving season, but that will likely not be the case this year due to the impact of COVID-19 on demand and crude oil prices.

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.87 cents to settle at $29.43 per barrel. Crude prices increased last week amid growing market optimism that crude demand continues to rebound as more states re-open and demand for gasoline has grown in recent weeks.

Staff Report