A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Americans paying 15 cents more at pump on average since May, but Kentucky prices show modest decline

Americans are paying a pretty penny to hit the road this summer.

The monthly national gas price average has increased from $3 in May to $3.07 in June to $3.15 in July. The beginning of August will likely be as expensive as July, especially as crude oil prices remain over $70 per barrel. An increase in global crude production is expected this month. However, even with the additional supply, global demand could outpace global supply and keep prices high.

The story in Kentucky has been a bit different, as the gas price average for regular unleaded now sits at $2.92 for the Commonwealth, down 3 cents from a month ago. Prices are still 88 cents higher than the average a year ago, when demand was much lower. Kentucky is now among the nation’s 10 least expensive markets.

“On average nationwide, motorists are paying 15 cents more to fill up since the beginning of May. In Kentucky, we have seen the average price drop recently across much of the Bluegrass,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “But on a national scale, August could prove to be even more expensive if crude oil prices increase, driven by market concerns of rising COVID case numbers and how that could negatively affect global demand in the near future.”

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

On the week, the national average increased by two cents to $3.17 with the majority of states seeing jumps between 2 to 10 cents. Today’s average is a nickel more than a month ago and 99 cents more than a year ago.

As many travelers take final summer vacations and others return to school this month, drivers are reminded not to rely heavily on in-dash fuel economy displays. New research found that a vehicle’s “miles to empty” estimates vary significantly and drivers could be taking an unnecessary risk if they rely too heavily on these displays. With more expensive gas prices, motorists may be trying to stretch their tank to empty, but drivers should watch their gas gauge and fill up when it reaches a quarter of a tank.

Most of Central Kentucky has seen gas prices drop over the past month, a trend not prevalent across the country. Today’s average price in Kentucky for a gallon of unleaded is 4 cents higher than last week, but 3 cents lower than a month ago. Today’s average is now 90 cents higher than the Commonwealth’s average of $2.03 seen a year ago. The highest recorded average gas price for regular unleaded in Kentucky is $4.09, on July 10, 2008.

The average price in Lexington is now $2.89, down 2 cents from a week ago and 9 cents less than a month ago.

In Georgetown, gas prices dropped 2 cents on the week at $2.92, a decrease of a nickel from prices a month ago. In Nicholasville, gas prices are down 4 cents on the week to land at $2.79, a full 14 cents lower than a month ago.

In Versailles, the gas price average was up just a penny on the week, currently at $2.87, which is a 7 cent drop from a month ago.

In Winchester, the average price of unleaded dropped 2 cents on the week, landing at $2.94. That’s 5 cents lower than a month ago.

At the close of last week’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) increased by 33 cents to settle at $73.95. A weaker dollar helped to push prices higher last week, while market concerns surrounding demand recovery continued to grow. Crude prices were also bolstered after the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest report showed that total domestic crude stocks declined by 4.1 million bbl to 435.6 million bbl. For this week, crude prices could climb higher if EIA’s next weekly report shows another decline in total domestic crude supply.

Quick Stats – Kentucky Among Least Expensive

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Delaware (+10 cents), Nevada (+6 cents), Maryland (+6 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), Wyoming (+6 cents), Idaho (+6 cents), Montana (+5 cents), North Dakota (+4 cents), California (+4 cents) and Ohio (−4 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($2.78), Louisiana ($2.81), Texas ($2.83), Alabama ($2.84), Arkansas ($2.86), Missouri ($2.86), Oklahoma ($2.89), South Carolina ($2.89), Tennessee ($2.89) and Kentucky ($2.92).

Tips to conserve fuel

With gas prices higher and more people planning to enjoy a Great American Road Trip this holiday weekend and throughout the summer, motorists are reminded to keep these tips in mind to conserve fuel:

• Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible avoid high-traffic times of day.

• If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.

• Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than for larger models.

• Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.

• In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunshade to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.

AAA Blue Grass

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