NJ gas prices staying put — just like most of you
With no major holidays for close to two months and Gov. Phil Murphy disinclined to announce any further reopening of New Jersey at the moment, summer travel in the Garden State is static — and so are prices at the pump.
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in New Jersey as of Monday was $2.18, up 1 cent from the start of the weekend and 2 cents from a week ago.
That statewide figure lines up much better with the national average, $2.19 a gallon, than with prices in neighboring states: $2.22 in Delaware, $2.25 in New York, and $2.44 in Pennsylvania.
And, perhaps most indicative of a New Jersey summer that's unlike any other before it, the state's average is 64 cents lower than one year ago, at $2.82.
"People are just simply going to stay closer to home, they're going to take day trips, so there's not going to be that driving factor in demand," Tracy Noble, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman, said.
Because New Jersey was among the first states to tightly lock down due to the coronavirus, gas prices here dropped more dramatically than some other states.
But now the price of crude oil has been ticking up, Noble said, which is the reason why gas prices have slowly risen accordingly, not increased social activity.
"If you remember, a couple of weeks ago we were at prices not seen in several years when we hit $2 a gallon in New Jersey," she said.
The under-$2 target is one we may see again by the fall, according to Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service, as gas production becomes cheaper after the changeover from its summer formula.
But Kloza said for now, he and other analysts are expecting prices to hover around their current levels.
"We've hit a real speed bump in terms of gasoline demand," he said. "There were about 10 or 11 weeks where gasoline demand was rising in front of the July 4th week."
If drivers are worried about a spike in prices before the end of the year, Kloza said that may largely be governed by the extent to which schools reopen, but he does not foresee a dramatic rise.
"I think there's a lot of things people have to worry about this remaining half of the year — COVID, the election, jobs — I don't think gasoline prices are going to be one of them," he said.
AAA Mid-Atlantic reports that the cheapest gas in New Jersey right now can be found in Burlington County, at an average of $2.15 for a gallon of regular.