Eclipse viewers could push gas prices higher along viewing path due to high demand.
Gas prices are down in the Midwest, East Coast and the South, but up on the West Coast and in Rockies states. The national average price of gas came in at $2.33 on Aug. 21, just two cents less than last week, but five cents more than last month and 17 cents more than this time last year, according to a report by AAA.
Indiana (down 10 cents) and Oregon (up 10 cents) saw the greatest week-over-week change in pump prices. South Carolina ($2.06) continues to offer the least expensive gas in the nation.
AAA reported that an increase in gasoline production combined with record-breaking high refinery runs continue to drive the country’s already relatively high gasoline inventories even higher.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) found, today’s national gasoline inventory levels sit at 231 million bbl and remain higher than the previous five-year average.
AAA reported that at the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate stayed below $50 –at $48.51. On Monday morning (Aug. 21), prices looked to be dipping due to a weak dollar and continued worries about high crude oil inventory levels.
It’s predicted that crude oil supplies will become tighter as demand continues.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude output climbed 79,000 b/d to 9.502 million b/d – which is the highest level seen in two years, according to AAA. This continued increase in U.S. production continues to add to the global surplus of crude, putting downward pressure on crude prices.
Gasoline demand along the path of the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, could help boost numbers. Drivers in the viewing pathway may see prices spike due to high demand.