Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | June 10, 2013
(WASHINGTON, June 10, 2013) Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.63 per gallon. This is a penny more expensive than one week ago, six cents more than one month ago and nine cents more than the same date last year. The national average was in the midst of a 61-cent tumble at this time last year — from a peak of $3.94 on April 5 and 6, to a summer-low of $3.33 on July 2 — so the year-over-year gap is likely to continue to widen in the coming days.
The national average has increased just one-cent in the past week; however this obscures divergent gas price storylines at the state level. Drivers in 25 states have seen prices fall during this period, led by the drops of more than 8 cents per gallon in Okla. (-8 cents), N.D. (-8 cents), Kan. (-9 cents), Neb. (-10 cents) and Minn. (-12 cents). Plunging prices in these five Midwestern and Central states represent a pull-back from recent dramatic highs, including all-time daily records in N.D and Minn. near the end of May.
At the same time, drivers in 25 states and Washington D.C. have seen prices increase over the past week. This group is led by sharply higher prices in several Great Lakes states, including jumps of at least 8 cents per gallon in Ohio (+9 cents), Wisc. (+11 cents), Mich. (+12 cents), Ill. (+16 cents) and Ind. (+19 cents). The near record high prices being paid by drivers in these states are the product of continued low supplies and transportation challenges for wholesale gasoline in the Chicago market, particularly because of maintenance at the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Ill. and the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. Confirmation today that the Joliet refinery was back online after more than two months will increase supply to the market and likely mean lower prices in the days ahead, however the Whiting refinery continues to operate at less than full capacity.
While prices may tick higher in the next few days, AAA continues to expect lower prices — both nationally and in the Great Lakes — as June continues. Prices should drop below a national average of $3.50 per gallon by the end of the month if refineries, particularly those in the Great Lakes, can transition smoothly from ongoing maintenance to full production.
As noted in last week’s Fuel Gauge Report, national gasoline markets have been driven by regional supply and production issues and not by West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices, which have traded within a narrow $5 range. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down 26 cents at $95.77 per barrel.