AAA FUEL GAUGE: West Virginia Gasoline Prices Skyrocket More Than 17 Cents to top $4 Per Gallon

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
 AAA FUEL GAUGE: West Virginia Gasoline Prices Skyrocket More Than 17 Cents to top $4 Per Gallon
Prices at the pump in West Virginia increased 17.2 cents this week. This current increase brings the average price for a gallon of self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline to $4.100.

According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge, at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX Monday, May 2, 2011,  crude oil settled down 41 cents at $113.52. 

 This comes following a settlement price of $113.93 per barrel to close last week — the highest price since August 2008.

Reports of ongoing and increasing unrest in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, and the wider Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region continued last week.  Government forces fired on protestors in Syria; NATO-led bombing continued in Libya with no quick return crude production expected; and OPEC-member and Africa’s top oil-producing nation, Nigeria, saw reports of post-election violence.

While this news did add upward pressure to crude oil prices, the bulk of attention was focused on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) weekly report and the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) two day meeting that was capped by an unprecedented press conference by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.  The DOE report showed a tenth consecutive week of drawdown in U.S. gasoline supply.  

While a decline is not unusual at this time of year, as suppliers lower stocks during the switch from winter- to summer-blend gasoline, this most recent report has stocks at 205.6 million barrels — 18.1 million barrels below the same period last year.  It is worth noting that these numbers came alongside data that showed a slight week-over-week increase in gasoline demand.  Some analysts have speculated this data could capture demand for travel during the Easter weekend, which may be masking the extent of demand destruction taking place.  Traders will be closely watching this week’s DOE report for a clearer picture of the impact that high prices at the pump are having on demand for gasoline.  This upward pressure on crude oil prices was compounded by Chairman Bernanke’s announcement that the Fed would continue efforts to stimulate economic growth through low interest rates.  This monetary policy is expected to continue the devaluation of the dollar.  As the dollar loses value, the price of U.S. commodities, such as crude, are driven higher as they become relatively cheaper to buyers holding foreign currencies.

Today, the markets have worked to digest President Obama’s announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan.  While news of bin Laden’s death marks an important victory in the war on terror and a blow to al Qaeda operations, it does not have an immediate impact on instability in the MENA region. 

Crude oil touching multi-year highs, coupled with the change from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline taking place in many parts of the country, means that drivers have seen gasoline prices at the pump continue to rise.  The current national retail average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline is $3.967. This is up 9.8 cents from a week ago, 32.2 cents from a month ago and $1.072 from a year ago.  Currently 14 states plus the District of Columbia are at or above the $4 mark.

 This week’s average prices: West Virginia Average                                               $4.100

Average price during the week of April 26, 2011                                                       $3.928

Average price during the week of May 4, 2010                                                          $2.919

The following is a list of the average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:

 

$4.143

Bridgeport

$4.147

Clarksburg

$4.194

Huntington

$4.042

Martinsburg

$4.007

Morgantown

$4.166

Parkersburg

$4.063

Weirton

$4.037

Wheeling

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 80 local offices in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and Kentucky servicing 2.5 million members.

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