A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AAA: Gas prices lower going into the holiday; Kentucky average drops 12 cents in the past month


As motorists prepare their vehicles to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday next week, an increase in supply has helped the average Kentucky gas price drop 6 cents over the past week, landing at $2.36. After a number of fluctuations this fall, the current average price for a gallon of unleaded in the Commonwealth sits at 3 cents less than a year ago.

Lexington saw even more dramatic drops in gas price this week, falling 18 cents to land at $2.28. The average price for a gallon of unleaded has dropped 23 cents in Lexington over the past month. Gas prices in the city are still averaging about 4 cents higher than a year ago this time.

Lower gas prices could fuel more Thanksgiving road trips

Gas prices have been fluctuating as of late, but are currently cheaper than the national average at this time last year, giving Americans a little extra money to spend on travel and motivating millions to take road trips. For the majority of Americans, AAA expects gas prices to be fairly similar to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, which averaged $2.57.

Kentucky had one of the largest week-over-week gas price drops in the country. On the week, gas prices are mostly cheaper across the country. A small number of states saw pump prices decrease more than a dime, though the majority saw fluctuation of a few pennies. Today’s national average of $2.60 is two cents cheaper than last week.

“We’re seeing the laws of supply and demand at work. An increase in gasoline stocks amid robust demand helped to push gas prices cheaper on the week,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “We would expect this trend to continue throughout most of the month, but the exception is Thanksgiving. With nearly 49.3 million Americans expected to travel by car for the holiday, gas prices may start to fluctuate by the end of this week due to high demand.”

Today’s national average is six cents less than last month and three cents cheaper than this time last year.

Quick Stats

• The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Delaware (-8 cents), California (-8 cents), Ohio (+8 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Oregon (-4 cents), Maryland (-4 cents), Indiana (+4 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents) and Texas (-4 cents).
 
• The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.21), Mississippi ($2.21), Texas ($2.24), South Carolina ($2.26), Alabama ($2.27), Missouri ($2.28), Arkansas ($2.29), Oklahoma ($2.29), Virginia ($2.30) and Tennessee ($2.32).

Central U.S. continues to show some price volatility

Pump price volatility continues across the Great Lakes and Central States. Four states landed on the top 10 list of largest pump price changes in the country: Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents) and Indiana (+4 cents).

However, most states in the region saw gas prices decrease by one to three cents. In addition to Ohio and Indiana, Illinois was down 2 cents.While Illinois ($2.66) carries the highest pump price average in the region, most state averages range from $2.35 – $2.55.

Gasoline stocks saw a build of nearly 400,000, driving stocks up to 46.9 million barrels. According to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, this was the first regional increase in stocks since the end of September. Should stocks continue to increase—and at sizable amounts—motorists would likely see gas prices decline. However, the jump in demand expected over the Thanksgiving travel period will likely slow the price decline, at least temporarily.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 95 cents to settle at $57.72. Crude prices increased last week due to increased optimism that China and the U.S.—the world’s two largest crude consumers—are continuing to resolve ongoing trade tensions that sparked market fears that global crude demand would suffer as a result of increased tariffs between both countries.

Crude prices increased despite new data from EIA that revealed total domestic crude inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels, bringing the new total to 449 million barrels. The current level is 6.9 million barrels higher than last year’s level at this same time. 

Routes and more

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
 


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