The trend of lower gas prices helps drivers make travel decisions

Lumberton – A slight dip in the price of gas around Robson County has triggered a short-term trend of lower prices at the pump.

Thursday’s local average low gas price was $3.84 in both Robson and Lumberton County.

This followed a trend of lower gas prices since mid-March when the average gallon price peaked at $4.15 a gallon.

Locally, drivers are seeing prices below state and nation averages, according to GasBuddy.com.

AAA travel agents have been very busy this year as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

“They’re getting phone calls asking what’s available regarding domestic travel and beyond,” said Jim Garrity, director of public affairs for AAA East Central.

Additionally, the travel agency reports that lower gas prices have prompted drivers to consider summer destinations.

Patrick de Haan, chief of petroleum analysis, points to a report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on US petroleum stocks.

According to the EIA report, “Crude oil inventories increased by 9.4 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 421.8 million barrels.” “At 421.8 million barrels, stocks are 70.7 million barrels down last year (-14.4%) which is about 13% below the five-year average for this time of year.”

The EIA report also said that stocks in Cushing, Oklahoma, the Nymex delivery point, rose 0.4 million barrels to a total of 26.3 million barrels. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) decreased by 3.9 million barrels from the previous week to 560.7 million barrels and stands 11.9% from last year’s level.

Earlier in the week, a report from gasbuddy.com showed the average gas price fell for the third straight rate, “it is down 7.5 cents from last week and stands at $4.10 a gallon today according to data collected from more than 11 million individual prices. Reports covering more than 150,000 gas stations across the country.

The gassbuddy.com report stated that “the national average is down 23.3 cents from last month and $1.25 a gallon higher than it was a year ago.” “The national average price for diesel fell 4.4 cents last week and was $5.04 per gallon.”

“Gas prices continued to move in the right direction — down — saving Americans about $100 million a day compared to when prices peaked about a month ago,” de Haan said.

More good news is on the horizon, De Haan said.

This week, the national average is likely to fall below the critical $4 a gallon level. Gas prices will still likely have peaked in 2022, except for typical caveats such as Russia’s war on Ukraine, the economy, hurricane season, and Covid do not take drastic and unexpected turns.

Diesel prices are also dropping and likely to fall below $5 an average gallon this week. For now, de Haan said, the situation continues to show signs of improvement, with the national average slipping back into the $3 range early this week.

A statement from AAA appears to reflect De Haan’s analysis.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline fell three cents to $4.15. According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks fell by 2 million barrels to 236.8 million barrels last week. Gasoline demand increased slightly from 8.5 million barrels per day to 8.56 million barrels per day. Although supply and demand factors would normally have supported pump prices, oil price volatility is still the main factor affecting pump prices. Pump prices are likely to face downward pressure if oil prices remain below $100 per barrel.”

Fuel prices have been making headlines lately.

“It was kind of a quick ride for crude oil prices, which peaked around $125 (a barrel) after the invasion of Ukraine and then rose again. Plus, we’re heading into the time of year where demand is high and we start consuming the summer gasoline blend,” he said. Garity.

Summer mix is ​​more expensive because it is made so that it does not evaporate much at higher temperatures. “Prices generally go up in the spring and hover around the same level in the summer,” he said.

This natural trend has been disrupted by the pandemic and now by Russian sanctions and the war in Ukraine.

What that means for the summer travel season isn’t entirely clear.

“When AAA surveyed consumers about their breaking point in terms of gas prices, the majority said when they hit the $4 a gallon mark, they would make changes to their driving habits,” Garrity said.

This story was contributed by Patricia Sheridan of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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