The average price of gasoline across South Central Ohio is four cents higher this week at $2.384 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report. 

Many states in the Great Lakes and Central region are paying more to fill-up at the pump this week. Indiana (+12 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), Illinois (+6 cents) and Michigan (+6 cents) had the largest jumps in the region and rank among the 10 biggest changes in the country. Regional gas price averages range from $2.09 in Missouri to $2.59 in Illinois (Kentucky, $2.21).

Gas prices have fluctuated in the last week as gasoline inventory increased by a little more than 100,000 barrels. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show that regional stocks have steadily built since mid-November, registering total stocks at a healthy 58.7 million barrels. Regional refinery utilization is also strong at 91 percent. Gas prices are likely to see some volatility this week, but overall, strong inventory should keep most price changes minimal.

This week's average prices:

• South Central Ohio Average: $2.384;

• Average price during the week of Feb. 10, 2020: $2.340;

• Average price during the week of Feb. 19, 2019: $2.270.

The average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:  

$2.566, Athens
$2.407, Chillicothe
$2.367, Columbiana
$2.424, East Liverpool
$2.395, Gallipolis
$2.356, Hillsboro
$2.149, Ironton
$2.291, Jackson
$2.444, Logan
$2.461, Marietta
$2.187, Portsmouth
$2.437, Steubenville
$2.451, Washington Court House
$2.441, Waverly.

State gas price averages are fluctuating across the country, causing the national gas price average to increase by two cents on the week to $2.44. Since last week, most states saw gas price increases or decreases by as much as three cents, and eight states saw prices increase by a nickel or more.

This fluctuation could be attributed in part to domestic wholesale gasoline and global crude oil prices increasing last week. Pump prices in the week ahead could see further volatility depending on movement of the oil market as well as U.S. gasoline demand and stock levels numbers.

The national average is 11 cents cheaper than last month, but 13 cents more expensive than last year.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.73 to settle at $52.05. Crude prices increased after reports emerged that the coronavirus had potentially reached its peak. Market watchers ended the week optimistic that global crude demand would not decrease further. However, if occurrences of the virus continue to increase this week, the market may struggle to hold on to price gains.

Motorists can find current gas prices nationwide, statewide and countywide at