As the summer driving season shifts into high gear, consumers are well aware of gasoline prices and the impact the price will have on their summer travels. Although gasoline makes up 90% of the gallons we purchase for our vehicles, the product that makes up the additional 10% (Ethanol) can have a big impact on the price we pay.
Early Friday morning, a massive explosion occurred in south Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex. The 150-year-old oil refinery, opened in 1866 just after the Civil War, had a vat of butane ignite and explode causing Interstates 76 and 95 to close and even “rattled” homes in the South Jersey area.
As, arguably, the most anticipated month of the year for both cross-country driving enthusiasts and beach lounging sun bathers, the month of May, approaches, we must check our pocket books and weigh the cost analysis of driving the extra miles to visit the largest ball of twine or not.
The U.S. typically sees a drop in gasoline prices as demand begins to tail off at the end of the summer travel season. This year is breaking the trend with gasoline prices sitting at their highest for the season since 2014, due in large part to the global oil price rally. AAA reports that the national price average was at $2.867 as of Wednesday, September 26th. Gasoline prices were 27 cents higher per gallon than they were at the same time last year, and this backwards trend could continue into the fall and winter seasons.
Among the many geopolitical issues going on in the world effecting the oil market, there have been reports this week that President Trump is considering tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to lower gasoline prices. According to Bloomberg, “options are under consideration ranging from a 5 million barrel test sale to a more sizeable release of 30 million barrels and a third option of a larger release that would be coordinated with other nations.” Utilizing any of these options would create a shift in global crude oil prices.