NJ gas price hits $2 — How low will it go and for how long?
The average price for a gallon of gasoline in New Jersey is at $2, according to AAA and The Oil Price Information Service. But as the summer months approach and places start to reopen, will there be a bigger demand for gas and higher prices?
Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service, warned there are some difficult weeks ahead with petroleum distribution. But he does not predict a return to normal summer driving, not with recreational places closed and telecommuting still happening.
He said there might be some premature excitement that's pushed crude oil and gasoline in the past couple of days. But Kloza does not see a spring price increase in the next 30 days or so.
Kloza said New Jersey retailers are selling 55% of what they sold last year.
June and July are still in the mix in terms of higher consumption. But Kloza says in the last four weeks or so, the demand for gas has been at a low not seen since March 1968.
U.S. crude oil prices have dipped into the negative, which he has never seen before. Kloza said between now and Memorial Day, New Jersey drivers are going to see something that is not typical: flat gasoline prices. He wouldn't be surprised if some of the major brands dropping lower than the $2 mark.
Kloza also added that we are running at about 69% refinery capacity. There might be less gasoline to export because the southern hemisphere is seeing some of the COVID-19 numbers.
"I would not be worried about a gasoline price spike," said Kloza.
What about June, July and August? "Who knows," said Kloza. He said prices may go up but gas will still be cheap by any of the metrics that have been used to measure summer prices in the last 15 years.
The good news, he said, is that if a person looks at what they're paying for gas in April and what they're consuming and that person has a job, that's probably about a $150 savings versus what someone paid last year when gas was roughly $2.90 a gallon.
Despite the fact that temperatures are about to spike and get warmer as we head into summer, Kloza said start thinking about heating oil if that's what a person uses in the winter. He said heating oil is probably not going to get any cheaper than it is right now and it probably will be more expensive come winter. There might be chances now to lock in prices for winter at about half about what someone paid in the winter of 2019-2020.