GA Gas Prices Plateau after 6-Cent Jump

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Gas prices plateaued over the weekend, after an unseasonable jump at the pumps last week. Georgia gas prices rose an average of 6 cents in 5 days. Some of the highest weekly hikes were in Valdosta (9 cents), Gainesville (9 cents), Albany (8 cents), and Atlanta (8 cents).

The state average's steady climb came to a crawl over the weekend. Georgia gas prices averaged $2.41 on Sunday, just fractions of a cent less than the day before. The state average is 6 cents more than a week ago and 22 cents more than this time last year.

The most expensive gas price averages in Georgia are in Atlanta ($2.45), Brunswick ($2.44), Savannah ($2.43)

The least expensive gas price averages in Georgia are in Catoosa-Dade-Walker ($2.29), Dalton ($2.30), Warner Robins ($2.31)

"Our usual autumn pump price plunge was interrupted by rising oil prices," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Fortunately, oil prices let off the throttle last week, allowing gas prices to find what appears to be solid ground. However, motorists should expect gas prices to linger at their current levels this week."

"Analysts warn that oil prices could be somewhat volatile this week, as the consolidation of power in Saudi Arabia leaves speculators questioning the impacts on global oil supply," Jenkins continued. "Fortunately, domestic oil supply and production made solid gains. If that becomes a trend, oil prices could drift lower and take gasoline prices with them."

Crude Oil Reaches 2-Year High

Crude oil futures cooled off last week, after climbing nearly $6 in two weeks. The price for a barrel of WTI hit $57.35 on Monday; the highest daily settlement since June 2015.

"Increasing crude oil prices almost always lead to higher prices at the pump," Jenkins continued. "Expensive crude makes it more costly for refineries to produce gasoline, and that price is typically passed along to the consumer. Fortunately, oil prices backed off a bit last week, which pulled the plug on the gas price hike."

What Caused the Sharp Oil Price Increase?

Declining U.S. rig counts

Lower domestic oil inventories

Oil Production Cut Extension - The market responded sharply to news of OPEC's intent to extend an oil production cut agreement with Russia and other oil producing countries through all of 2018. A decision is expected during an OPEC meeting in Vienna on November 30.

Saudi Arabia Power Consolidation - Another factor influencing the crude oil market are reports that Saudi Arabia's King may abdicate his throne to the Crown Prince. The consolidation of power by the King has led to political instability and increased tensions with Lebanon. Since Saudi Arabia is one of the largest oil producers in the world and a major player within OPEC, any political decisions that affect their oil production could have a significant impact on global crude oil supplies.

Why is Oil Declining Now?

Rig Count Rises - Baker Hughes rig report, which showed that U.S. drillers added nine crude oil rigs since last week. The reports of increased rig count and U.S. production may be tempering expectations that an extended OPEC production agreement could rebalance the global oil glut.

U.S. Oil Inventories Increase - This week’s U.S. Energy Information Administration data report showed a considerable build in U.S. crude oil stocks with an increase of 2.2 million bbl to reach 457.1 million bbl. Additionally, U.S. crude oil refinery activity was also up, with 89.6% refinery utilization rate.
Gas Price Tools for Reporters/Consumers

Highs and Lows of 2017*

National: the highest average price for gasoline was $2.67 on September 8. The lowest was $2.23 on July 5.

Georgia: the highest average price was $2.76 on September 12. The lowest was $2.08 on July 5.