With demand for gasoline at its lowest level since last summer, the average price at the pumps across South Central Ohio was 8 cents higher this week at $2.11 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s gas price report.
The auto club reported Monday’s national average was $2.16, which they said was the same price as last week, 2 cents cheaper than one month ago, and a whopping 44 cents less than last year.
However, in Hillsboro and surrounding cities and towns, the price at the pump ranged from as low as 40 cents a gallon to just under 5 cents below the national average.
While the drop in demand isn’t out of the ordinary for this time of year, AAA said it is a staggering 14 percent less than October of one year ago, and that gasoline stocks increased last week to 227 million barrels, putting total supplies at a four-million barrel surplus compared to last year.
Ohio was one of five states that saw an increase in gas prices, rising 7 cents a gallon from the week before.
Kentucky saw its gas prices increase by 6 cents, Michigan’s increased by a nickel, and both Indiana and Illinois only saw their gas prices go up by a penny.
In the city of Hillsboro, it was a four-way tie Tuesday for the second-lowest gas prices in town, with both Speedway stations, United Dairy Farmers and the Marathon mini-mart on U.S. Route 50 across from Dairy Queen all posting $1.77 on their digital signs.
Bragging rights for having the cheapest gas price in town went to Murphy Oil/Walmart, whose sign showed $1.76 a gallon.
According to gas price watchdog GasBuddy.com, the lowest gas prices in cities that bordered Highland County were Sam’s Club on North Bridge Street in Chillicothe at $1.92, Marathon on U.S. 22 east in Wilmington at $1.93; and UDF in Washington C.H. posted a per gallon price for self-serve unleaded at $2.11.
Domestic crude oil prices decreased in light of market concerns about increasing coronavirus infections worldwide, which the EIA said could lower crude demand.
The decrease in price occurred despite EIA’s weekly report showing that total domestic crude inventories dropped by 1 million barrels to 488.1 million barrels.
The EIA said that if demand concerns continue in the coming weeks, crude prices could decrease further, possibly reaching levels that were seen at the height of the pandemic this summer, when some locations in Hillsboro posted gas prices of as low as $1.25 per gallon.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.