Climbing temperatures and lower gas prices have taken the chill off the season for local drivers as Northeast Ohio gas prices drop eight cents to $3.232.
Today's national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.30. While this price is fractions of a penny more than one week ago, it is six cents cheaper than one month ago and seven cents less than one year ago.
In the first 90 days of 2012, geopolitical tensions with Iran pressured the national price at the pump almost 65 cents higher. Without a similar market moving story to begin 2013, it is likely that the year-over-year discount will widen in the coming months. AAA continues to expect that gas prices in 2013 will average less than the annual record of $3.60 per gallon set last year.
According to the AAA Fuel Gauge, only 12 states and Washington, D.C. currently have an average price at the pump that is more expensive than one year ago. Not coincidentally, these are also the states where gasoline supplies and distribution were most heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy this fall.
While the net impact of the hurricane was demand destruction, which contributed to a lower national average to end the year, tight supplies in the Northeast linger and continue to buoy prices in the region.
While retail gasoline prices are currently rising at a slower rate than to start 2012, the average is pressured higher by crude oil prices that have continued to slowly increase in recent weeks.
At today's close of formal trading on the NYMEX Monday, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $93.19 per barrel, up 10 cents on the day. This is the highest settlement price since Sept. 18, but is still well below the 2012 high of $109.77 per barrel on Feb. 24.
This week's average prices: Northeast Ohio Average $ 3.232
Average price during the week of January 8, 2013 $ 3.316
Average price during the week of January 10, 2012 $ 3.412
Today's National Average Price $3.300