Since hitting rock bottom around the holidays, gas prices in Bladen County have been steadily climbing. However, specialists in the field predict that the price increase trend may be temporary. According to data provided by GasBuddy from over 11 million individual price reports spanning over 150,000 gas stations, the national average gas price fell for the first time in 2023, dropping 4.4 cents from a week ago to $3.44 per gallon on Sunday.
Despite local gas stations selling gasoline for several cents cheaper than the national average, the county-wide average price in Bladen County follows the national trend. On Monday, for example, the national average price of gasoline was 17.5 cents more than it was a month earlier and 1.7 cents higher than it was a year earlier.
A gallon of gas cost about $3.26 in Bladen County and $3.24 in Elizabethtown on average. According to GasBuddy’s chief of petroleum analysis,
“For the first time in 2023, the national average price of gasoline has seen a weekly decline, primarily thanks to a sharp and sudden drop in the price of oil,”
and this is due largely to the unexpected and drastic drop in the price of oil.
“While the decline in both gasoline and diesel prices is terrific, it’s not unusual to see prices falling in February, which tends to be the month with some of the lowest gasoline prices of the year thanks to seasonally weak demand.”
As distillate imports have increased, leading to a sell-off, De Haan predicts further drops in diesel prices for drivers in the coming weeks. De Haan said that upcoming warmer weather could cause demand to drop.
“However, especially for gasoline, high levels of coming maintenance and the eventual transition to summer gasoline could lead declines to reverse down the road,”
De Haan said.
“For now, motorists should enjoy the decline, but be wary as we’re likely to eventually see increases again down the road.”
The national average price of a gallon of gas has also not changed significantly over the past week, AAA announced on Monday, falling by three cents to $3.47. According to a statement published to the public, oil prices have dropped as a result of OPEC+’s decision last week to keep output at current levels and not make any cuts.
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Although the unemployment rate in the United States fell to a 54-year low of 3.4% with Friday’s report of 517,000 new jobs created in January, this may have the opposite effect on gas prices. AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said,
“Keep an eye on the price of gasoline,”
“because oil currently accounts for nearly 60% of what we pay at the pump. And rising or falling oil prices can have a direct impact on motorists’ wallets.”
Last week, gas demand increased from 8.14 million to 8.49 million b/d, as reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). In the meantime, the country’s overall gasoline supply rose by 2.6 million barrels to 234.6 million barrels. Increases in total supply have helped keep gas prices mostly stable despite increased demand.