A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AAA: Gas prices in Kentucky are trending higher but are lower than our neighboring states

The price at the pump continues its slow climb, rising 2 cents on the week, with the national average for a gallon of gas hitting $3.42.

Gas prices in Kentucky also continue to trend higher. The average is $3.12 for a gallon of regular unleaded. That’s up another penny on the week, 4 cents in a month and $1.21 higher than last year on this date.

For consumers, gasoline prices last hit this mark in September 2014, when “The Maze Runner” ruled the box office and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” topped the pop charts, but for now, there is no shaking off the pain at the pump because crude oil supplies remain tight.

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The latest decision by OPEC and its oil-producing allies to maintain their planned gradual increase in output will not help lessen supply constraints, so any relief will most likely have to come from the demand side.

“Not everybody loves changing their household clocks for the end of Daylight Saving Time, but the shorter days could lead to a change for the better when it comes to gas prices,” says Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “Drivers may head straight home from work to avoid the darkness rather than tack on side trips for shopping or errands.”

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 1.5 million barrels to 214.2 million barrels last week. However, gasoline demand rose from 9.32 million barrels per day to 9.5 million barrels per day. The slight increase in demand has contributed to price increases, while elevated crude prices continue to put upward market pressure on pump prices.

Today’s national average of $3.42 is 16 cents more than a month ago, $1.31 more than a year ago and 80 cents more than in 2019.

The lowest spot in Northern Kentucky is Mason County at $3.02. The cheapest gas in eastern Kentucky is Martin County at $3.09 and Jackson County at $3.09. The high spot to the east is Floyd County at $3.10.

For those traveling to surrounding states, Kentucky’s $3.12 average is 18 cents lower than Ohio’s average of $3.30, 28 cents lower than Indiana’s average of $3.40, and 3 cents lower than Tennessee’s $3.15.

Prices at the pump in Kentucky are averaging 22 cents less than West Virginia’s average of $3.34, 18 cents less than Virginia’s $3.30, and 49 cents less than Illinois’s average of $3.61. Kentucky is averaging the same as Missouri’s average of $3.12.

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Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Michigan (+16 cents), Ohio (+14 cents), Indiana (+11 cents), Arizona (+7 cents), New Mexico (+5 cents), Illinois (+5 cents), Minnesota (+3 cents), Oklahoma (+3 cents), New Hampshire (+3 cents) and Texas (+2 cents).

The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: California ($4.62), Hawaii ($4.33), Nevada ($3.95), Washington ($3.87), Oregon ($3.77), Utah ($3.72), Alaska ($3.71), Idaho ($3.69), Washington, D.C. ($3.61) and Illinois ($3.60).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $2.46 to settle at $81.27. Although crude prices gained for the day due to a weakening dollar, crude prices mostly declined last week after EIA reported that total domestic crude supply increased by 3.3 million barrels to 434.1 million barrels last week.

However, according to EIA’s data, the current storage level is approximately 10.4 percent lower than the same time the previous year. A tighter oil supply has helped to keep crude prices above $80 per barrel.

This week, crude prices could decline again if EIA’s next weekly report shows another increase in total domestic supply.

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