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Gas Prices Begin To Creep Back Up As Parts Of The Country

PA POST - Gas prices have stopped falling and are beginning to increase as parts of the country slowly reopen from shutdowns because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

GasBuddy on Monday reported that the national average price for a gallon of gas has increased 1.5 cents in a week to $1.75.

“It’s becoming a bit clearer that those 99 cent per gallon gas prices from the COVID-19 pandemic are solidly behind us as gasoline demand rebounds across the country as cities and states slowly reopen. The lowest priced stations in the country will see some upward movement, but most areas will still see declines,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

“While oil may continue to struggle, a disconnect between low oil prices and rising gasoline prices has emerged at the hands of refineries that have slowed production over the past month to avoid flooding the market with unwanted gasoline. As demand stages a rebound, it remains to be seen how quickly refiners will raise production to meet the locations that have or will begin to re-open in the days and weeks ahead. For now, expect prices to see upward potential- but only in the lower priced states- as we await a boost in gasoline production.”

With the OPEC cut in crude oil production on May 1 and demand has increased, crude oil prices “have rallied significantly in the last week,” according to GasBuddy.

AAA reported on Thursday that the national average price for a gallon of gas has increased 3 cents since Monday but is still $1.07 lower than a year ago.

“The Energy Information Administration released new data that showed demand for gasoline increased by 800,000 b/d to 6.7 million b/d last week, which is 3.2 million b/d less than last year at this time. The boost in demand continues to push pump prices up around the country, as more states re-open businesses. Gas demand is expected to continue to grow, leading pump prices to continue their increase through the weekend.

At the close of Thursday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 44 cents to settle at $23.55 per barrel. Although crude prices took a slight backstep today, they have gained some steam this week, as the market continues to believe that crude demand will increase as more states re-open businesses. However, global crude demand is expected to remain low due to COVID-19, tempering price increases.”

According to GasBuddy, “The most common gas price across the country stands at $1.59 per gallon, up 10 cents from a week ago, followed by $1.49, $1.69 and $1.39.”

The lowest price in Pennsylvania today, according to GasBuddy, is $1.61 a gallon at BJ’s in Allentown.

In the Harrisburg area, the lowest price is $1.73 a gallon at Sunoco at 4101 N. Front St., Harrisburg.

PennLive and The Patriot-News are partners with PA Post. PA Post is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom that covers politics and policy in Pennsylvania. Read their reporting at PaPost.org.