After increasing by 20 cents last week, the average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is another six cents higher this week at $2.727 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.
This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $2.727
Average price during the week of February 22, 2021, $2.661
Average price during the week of March 3, 2020, $2.328
The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:
$2.656 East Liverpool
$2.788 Washington Court House
Gas prices continue to increase, with the national average up nine cents on the week to $2.72. That is a 30 cent increase from the beginning of February, 28 cents more than a year ago and the most expensive daily national average since August 2019.
The latest price jumps are a direct result of February’s winter storm that took 26 U.S. refineries offline and pushed refinery utilization from an average of about 83% down to an atypical low of 68%, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). In its latest data, EIA also reported demand at 7.2 million barrels per day. Both utilization and demand rates have not been reported this low since last May.
AAA forecasts the national gas price average to increase in March. However, if refineries resume normal operations, and if crude oil prices show signs of stability, motorists may see some relief at the pump towards the end of the month.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate decreased by $2.03 to settle at $61.50. Crude prices rose mid-week despite the EIA’s latest report revealing that total domestic crude inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels last week, bringing the supply level to 463 million barrels. For this week, crude prices could rise if the EIA’s next weekly report shows a decrease in total stocks.