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What The Lowest Crude Inventory in Nearly 40 Years Could Mean for Your Wallet

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U.S. crude oil inventories fell by more than 2 million barrels last week, hitting their lowest level since 1985—a development that could have far-reaching implications on oil prices and, by extension, prices at the gas pump.

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. crude oil inventories fell by more than 2 million barrels last week, hitting their lowest level since 1985.
  • Crude prices jumped on the news, with the price of WTI crude trading more than 3% higher at just under $94 per barrel, the highest since July of last year.
  • Lower inventories could put more upward pressure on oil prices in the days ahead, which in turn could lead to higher prices at the gas pump for drivers.

U.S. crude inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), fell by almost 2.2 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 22, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday. It is the lowest level since March 1985 and is roughly 27% below an all-time high of 1.225 million barrels hit in 2017.

Reserves in the SPR also fell to their lowest in more than 40 years earlier this month, which could diminish the U.S. government’s ability to influence oil prices.

Crude oil prices jumped on the news, with the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude—the U.S. benchmark—trading more than 3% higher at just under $94 per barrel, the highest since July of last year. Lower inventories could put more upward pressure on oil prices in the days ahead, which in turn could lead to higher prices at the gas pump for consumers and households.

The nationwide average price of a gallon of unleaded gas stood at $3.83 on Wednesday, according to AAA. That’s up from $3.54 at the end of June, when the current rally in oil prices began.

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