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National gas price average decreases for the first time in months

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Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 12:18 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - At $2.86, the national average has decreased week-over-week for the first time since November of last year.

Monday’s average is two cents cheaper on the week. Since last Monday, 45 states also saw their averages decrease or no change at the pump.

On the week, West Virginia gas prices have decreased two cents to an average of $2.76 per gallon.

In Ohio, the average is $2.63 and in Kentucky it will cost you $2.68 a gallon at the pump, according to AAA.

“Growing stock levels and cheaper crude oil prices are putting downward pressure on pump prices for the majority of motorists,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokesperson. “These are positive signs that less expensive gas prices could be around the corner, but not enough to indicate a steady trend just yet.”

Demand is one factor influencing gas prices. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week that demand was up by 174,000 b/d to 8.6 million b/d.

That reading is just 222,000 b/d short of levels one year ago, when demand started to dip. If demand continues to increase, prices could follow.

Gasoline stocks also saw a moderate increase with a build of 200,000 b/d.

However, refinery utilization hit 82% indicating we could see a larger build in stocks this week, a factor that could help keep pump prices in check.

While a few cents cheaper on the week, the national gas price average is 15 cents more expensive on the month and 84 cents more expensive on the year.

Those gaps, as well as stock levels and demand readings, are likely to widen in coming weeks as this time last year gas prices and related factors started to take a sharp turn due to the pandemic.

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