High demand, Mideast tensions are among the factors cited by AAA

Prices at the pump made a climb from last week — nationally, statewide and regionally. The national average price Monday for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $2.71, up 5 cents from the previous Monday. The New York state average was $2.82, up 6 cents from the previous week.

As has been par for the course this year, those averages are significantly higher than last week's averages at the same time: $2.41 nationally and $2.52 statewide.

In its weekly report, AAA Western and Central New York attributed the rising pump costs to robust demand and higher oil prices. Gasoline demand is in line with typical rates seen during the spring driving season, at 9.3 million b/d (barrels per day). Oil prices edged higher last week due to Middle East tensions, including the military strikes against Syria by the United States, United Kingdom and France. Syria is not a major oil producer, AAA WCNY noted, but tension in the country could ripple to other countries in the region and restrict the flow of the global oil supply.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude production broke records last week, topping 10 million b/d in the lower 48 states for the first time in the history of the Energy Information Administration's weekly petroleium reports. Crude stocks were up by 3.3 million barrels last week — though the storage levels are still nearly 105 million barrels below last year at this time, due to growing crude exports and OPEC-led production cuts, according to AAA. This decline, in turn, has led to higher crude prices.


Closer to home

AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

Batavia — $273 (up 4 cents in past week)
Buffalo — $2.75 (up 4 cents in past week)
Ithaca — $2.79 (up 7 cents in past week)
Rochester — $2.76 (up 5 cents in past week)
Rome — $2.79 (up 5 cents in past week)
Syracuse — $2.78 (up 6 cents in past week)
Watertown — $2.81 (up 4 cents in past week)