Gas prices in area remain stable but should take seasonal slide

GasBuddy Predicts Jump in Price

In GasBuddy's 2018 Fuel Price Outlook, September is predicted to be the most expensive month at $1.24 while January should be easiest on the wallet at an average of $1.13.

The higher prices at the pump come as crude oil rose above $61 a barrel, amid signs that OPEC will be successful in cutting production.

At $2.11, Hammond, Louisiana, had the lowest average gasoline prices in the nation Thursday, though some stations in the South and Southwest even had prices below $2 per gallon.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, Shell Marianas had not increased its prices, but it was expected to follow suit. Seasonal price differences such as formulation changes from winter-to summer and then summer-to-winter blends, are just the first of many factors influencing pump prices in both the US and Canada. Regional prices have been volatile, but more or less steady, with Tuesday's state average in California only less than 1 percent higher than a month ago.

However, McKinley said a major factor that should moderate gasoline prices this year is increased fracking activity in North American oil fields.

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The month of January will see the lowest prices at an average $1.13 per litre, while September will average $1.24 per litre, making it the priciest month of the year.

Higher-than-normal prices have persisted amid an extended cold snap. Ultimately, OPEC bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production, leading oil inventories to begin 2018 almost 50 million barrels lower than a year ago.

High compliance with the pact, which was implemented at the start of 2017 and runs through 2018, contributed to last year's price rally for crude oil, oil stocks, and related mutual and exchange-traded funds.

The first week of the new year is historically strong for oil prices, AAA said. Great Lakes states will likely see prices jump due to a regional price behavior called price cycling, while price trends may change little as we approach a short-term peak at the pump.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.26 in Lauderdale County and Colbert County, according to the survey.

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