Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.32, up 6 cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.59. The New York State average is $2.39 – up 6 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.73.
AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:
- Batavia -- $2.31 (up 4 cents since last week)
- Buffalo -- $2.33 (up 7 cents since last week)
- Ithaca -- $2.35 (up 5 cents since last week)
- Rochester -- $2.36 (up 6 cents since last week)
- Rome -- $2.42 (up 4 cents since last week)
- Syracuse -- $2.34 (up 6 cents since last week)
- Watertown -- $2.41 (up 5 cents since last week)
Pump prices are on the rise despite gas demand falling to the lowest level recorded since the end of May 2020. Domestic crude prices climbed above $50 per barrel while total refinery utilization increased from 79 percent to 81 percent leading to higher pump prices.
If crude prices continue to stay above $50 per barrel - WTI is $51.71 this morning -- alongside higher refinery utilization rates, drivers could see pump prices continue to climb, which is unusual given that low winter gas demand typically pushes prices to their lowest point of the year.
Crude prices increased last week after Saudi Arabia announced that it would cut its crude production by 1 million barrels per day in February and March after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met with its partners, including Russia and Kazakhstan, to discuss their ongoing production reduction agreement. If total domestic crude supply continues to drop, crude prices could continue to increase and push pump prices higher.
"With oil's meteoric rally continuing, motorists continue to face gas prices that continue to advance. With a barrel of crude oil now at its highest level in nearly a year, there's no where for gas prices to go but up," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
"In a normal year, this is the time we tend to see gas prices struggle, and according to Pay with GasBuddy data, gasoline demand is indeed seeing seasonal struggles, but that has not tempered the appetite of the market as many remain bullish over the continued rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine. How long we may be on this road relies on continued reduction in new COVID cases, but we may for the coming weeks seeing gas prices continuing their climb."