Gas prices fall but Iran sanctions may spark increase

Gas prices fall but Iran sanctions may spark increase

nationalcomparison_9-24-18Gasoline prices in Rochester have fallen 5 cents since Sept. 15, when stations made the switch to winter-blend gas, but consumers continue to balk at prices that are nearly 20 cents higher than what they paid at the pump last year. reports that the average price of a gallon of gas in Rochester on Monday was $2.90, 18 cents higher than the $2.72 per gallon drivers paid a year ago and 66 cents more than consumers paid two years ago.

By comparison, the national average for a gallon of gas this week was $2.83, a price that has remained relatively steady since the end of June. Drivers in Buffalo this week can expect to pay $2.91 per gallon, while those in Syracuse will pay $2.85, GasBuddy reports.

AAA Western and Central New York reported that gas prices in Batavia averaged $2.94 per gallon Monday, while in Watertown, Jefferson County, were down 1 cent to $3.02.

“With a muted response from OPEC to President Trump’s exhortation via Twitter that OPEC do something to rein in high oil prices, we may see energy markets rally as concerns grow that Iran’s sanctions effective in November may pose more of a challenge to global supply than anticipated,” Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, said in a statement Monday.

Oil prices jumped to a new high Sunday night as a reaction to OPEC’s response, DeHaan said.

“Moving forward, with Iran’s oil essentially out of reach, gas prices may not see the typical decline we had been expecting as recently as the last two weeks, as new concerns emerge about the tightrope balance some oil producing countries are hoping for, pushing supply down as global demand rises,” DeHaan added. “That’s not going to be good news for motorists.”

A new study from found that a vast majority of Americans have been feeling the pinch of rising gas prices over the last six months, and nationwide, the average price of regular gas has jumped 15 percent since the beginning of the year.

Roughly half of consumers in the study have changed their driving habits as a result of gas price jumps. Fifty-two percent of respondents said higher fuel costs have had a greater impact on how far or how often they drive, compared with six months ago.

The Energy Information Administration on Thursday reported that gas demand the previous week had slumped to one of its lowest rates for the season at 9.53 million barrels per day, after hitting 9.65 million b/d the previous week. The report signals that supply and demand for gasoline are in sync, but that could change if gas prices continue to fall with the winter-blend gas changeover, or if crude prices increase.

“Crude oil prices pushed past $70 (per barrel) for three days last week,” said AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano. “If they trend above this level for a sustained amount of time, we could see a trend reversal in pump prices, meaning it may cost more to fill up as we get closer to the end of the year.”

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