AAA: Gas prices higher in Ohio; National average hits six-year high

Staff report

The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is four cents higher this week at $2.894 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

This week’s average prices: South Central Ohio Average: $2.894

Average price during the week of May 10, 2021 $2.859

Average price during the week of May 18, 2020 $1.874

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

$2.984 Athens

$2.907 Chillicothe

$2.849 Columbiana

$2.900 East Liverpool

$2.943 Gallipolis

$2.902 Hillsboro

$2.897 Ironton

$2.878 Jackson

$2.887 Logan

$2.860 Marietta

$2.882 Portsmouth

$2.818 Steubenville

$2.896 Washington Court House

$2.913 Waverly

The national gas price average is the most expensive in six years at $3.04. Gas prices were expected to flirt with $3/gallon leading up to Memorial Day weekend, but last week’s shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline caused prices to spike weeks ahead of the holiday.

On the week, the national average jumped eight cents. States like Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, where the gasoline supply was strained due to the pipeline shutdown, saw prices jump as much as 21 cents in matter of days. With the pipeline back in operation and supply being restored, gas prices in these states and the national average have stabilized since the end of last week.

AAA forecasts 34 million Americans to take a road trip 50 miles or more from home from May 27 to May 31 to celebrate the unofficial kickoff to summer. That is a 52% increase compared to last summer, but nearly 9% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Regardless, motorists will be met with the most expensive gas prices since 2014.

Crude oil prices and gasoline demand will be two large factors in determining how expensive gas prices will be. At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.55 to settle at $65.37. Market optimism that crude demand will recover, despite an uptick in coronavirus infection rates in some countries, helped to lift prices last week. Prices could continue to climb this week if the market remains optimistic as vaccines continue to roll out.

Staff report