Jamestown area gas prices increased just a tenth of a cent to $3.695 per gallon this week, according to AAA East Central.
Today's national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.35 per gallon. This price is fractions of a penny less expensive than one week ago, 18 cents less than one month ago and 44 cents less than the same day last year.
The continuing federal government shutdown and looming deadline to address the debt ceiling still hang over markets; however reports of progress in discussions on both topics over the weekend and today have helped to stabilize prices. Markets have declined in recent weeks, reflecting concern over the heated impasse in Washington. However the larger drop that would be expected to accompany a prolonged shutdown or default on U.S. debt obligations has not yet taken place. This suggests that traders are following the assumption that an agreement will ultimately be reached even if it comes at the eleventh hour. With the window closing to raise the debt ceiling or face default, this will be a story to watch closely in the days ahead. Should discussions break-down, and an agreement not be reached, commodities and equities markets could move sharply lower. The national average price of gasoline has fallen more than 30 cents (8 percent) from $3.67 per gallon on July 19; however the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil has remained elevated above $100 per barrel. This streak continued Monday as WTI settled 39 cents higher at $102.41 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX.
AAA continues to expect that national gas prices will fall in the coming months due to sufficient supplies, flat demand and cheaper winter-blend gasoline; however if crude oil prices remain elevated, it would provide a fundamental floor of how low gas prices can ultimately go.