Gas prices declining in wake of stock market plunge

Last week’s stock market plunge brought good news for consumers on the energy front. Gas prices are declining in the wake of lower crude oil prices.

Crude oil dropped to its lowest price of the year last week, dramatically reducing the cost of producing gasoline, AAA said Monday.

Palm Beach County’s average for a gallon of regular was $2.73 Monday, two cents higher than a week ago, but declining each day. Florida’s average stood at $2.64, up from $2.60 a week ago. The national average declined to $2.58 Monday, from $2.60 a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.

“Gas prices have the potential to drop 10-15 cents, based on what happened last week,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said, “The wait is over — 2018’s first weekly drop at gas pumps has arrived with the national average losing ground in the last week. As the Dow Jones average swung violently, oil prices lost considerable ground, falling below $60 per barrel for the first time this year.

“In addition, a weekly report from the government showed a trifecta of inventory increases: crude oil, gasoline and distillate inventories all gained, pushing wholesale gasoline prices down and paving the way for gas prices to cool off,” DeHaan said.

“These factors have opened the door for perhaps a brief window of relief at the pump that may last for several weeks,” DeHaan said. ” I’d expect most places would see gas prices decline in the week ahead as a direct result. But don’t get too giddy — there are still some gray clouds on the horizon.”

AAA’s Jenkins said that refinery maintenance season is fast approaching and could spoil this big break for motorists.

“Every year - from February to April — reduced refinery output and the switch to summer-blend gasoline normally causes gas prices to rise 30-70 cents,” Jenkins said. Additional drops in oil prices would help soften the impact maintenance season has on prices at the pump. Expect volatility at the pump as these forces collide.”

Crude oil plunged to its lowest price of the year, last week, dramatically reducing the cost of producing gasoline. Friday’s closing price of $59.20 a barrel is down $6 from the week before, and the lowest daily settlement since December.

The downturn for energy prices began on Wednesday, when the Energy Information Administration’s weekly report revealed significant gains in domestic production and inventories. Domestic oil production surged to 10.25 million barrels per day - a new record for weekly production. This was the first time U.S. output exceeded 10 million barrels a day since 1970.

Here’s a look at the lowest gas prices in our area, as reported Monday to Prices can change at any time.

Jupiter: $2.67, Circle K, 126 W. Indiantown Road

Palm Beach Gardens: $2.63, Sunoco, 2490 PGA Blvd.

North Palm Beach: $2.59, Sunoco, 900 U.S. 1; Rocket Fuel, 100 N. Federal Highway

Lake Park: $2.59, RaceTrac, 200 N. Congress Ave.; Speedway, 1216 Northlake Blvd.; Sunoco, 774 Northlake Blvd.; Murphy USA, 103 N. Congress Ave.

Riviera Beach: $2.59, 7-Eleven, 7280 N. Military Trail; RaceTrac, 4156 W. Blue Heron Blvd.; Chevron, 2128 W. Blue Heron Blvd.

West Palm Beach: $2.43, Sam’s Club, 4295 45th Street

Royal Palm Beach: $2.42, Costco, 11001 Southern Blvd.

Wellington: $2.65, Shell, 192 U.S. 441

Lake Worth: $2.42, Speedway, 3965 S. Congress Ave.; Valero, 3985 10th Ave. N.; RaceTrac, 3032 Lake Worth Road; Cumberland Farms, 3980 10th Ave. N.; Sunoco, 3985 Lake Worth Road; J&A, 4703 S. Military Trail

Lantana: $2.42, Costco, 1873 W. Lantana Road

Boynton Beach: $2.49, BJ’s, 1540 W. Boynton Beach Blvd.

Delray Beach: $2.59, Valero, 1001 S. Congress Ave.; Murphy USA, 16211 S. Military Trail

Boca Raton: $2.55, Costco, 17800 Congress Ave.

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