GasBuddy warns prices may hit $3/gallon by Memorial Day

National News

(Getty Images)

BOSTON (WTWO/WAWV) — GasBuddy warned motorists Thursday that the national average may
breach $3 per gallon by Memorial Day after OPEC’s meeting closed with no meaningful increase in oil production.

The group’s large cuts to oil production in 2020 will generally be extended. In response, crude oil prices rose to fresh highs, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil nearing $65 per barrel, the highest level since 2019.

The last time the national average reached the $3/gallon threshold was over 2,300 days ago, on Oct. 10, 2014, but did get close in 2018, when the national average reached $2.97 per gallon.

As COVID-19 vaccines have spread country to country, demand for oil has rebounded notably. Early in the pandemic, OPEC cut some 10 million barrels per day of oil production, which largely remains the case today, as OPEC has not yet responded in kind to the rebound in global demand.

“The outcome of today’s OPEC meeting lends to a running of the bulls in oil markets, as global oil demand rebounds amidst recovery in the COVID-19 pandemic while OPEC, which controls a third of global production, balks at the recovery and maintains extreme production cuts,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Extending the production cuts maintains a growing imbalance between demand and supply, and puts more pressure on oil prices to rise, should global demand continue to recover. A continued recovery seems likely, led by American motorists filling their tanks at the fastest pace since the pandemic began. I predict the national average now has 70% odds of reaching $3 per gallon, a level not seen since 2014, primarily due to OPEC’s opposition to raising oil production.”

The decision by OPEC not to increase production comes as Americans are increasing their appetite for fuels. According to Pay with GasBuddy data, gasoline demand last week reached the highest level in nearly a year, rising 15% from the prior week and now just single digits away from gasoline demand pre-pandemic.

It is worth noting that of President Biden’s recent decisions to rescind the Keystone XL pipeline and end approval of new leases on federal land, neither of those is playing a role in today’s rising oil prices: there is no shortage of pipeline capacity and U.S. producers aren’t racing to install new rigs on federal land, since some existing wells remain shut down, it would make little sense for companies to look for purchase new leases to drill.

GasBuddy offers these tips to save money on gas amidst price increases:

● Shop around: Gas prices can vary as much as $1 per gallon in metropolitan areas. Searching for the best gas prices before filling up with tools like the free GasBuddy app can ensure drivers pay the lowest price.

● Drive mindfully: Aggressive driving can reduce gas mileage by as much as 40%.

● Pay and save: Joining a gas station loyalty program or using payments services like Pay with GasBuddy can save drivers hundreds of dollars per year on gas.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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