Gas Prices Stop Rising Heading Into July 4 Weekend
( WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014) The national average price of gas has stopped increasing as we approach the Independence Day holiday, though prices remains at a six-year high for this time of year. Today’s national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68 per gallon. The price has remained relatively stable over the past seven days, and the current price is just a penny more than one month ago.
Consumers have seen little fluctuation in the national average for the month of June; however the current price at the pump is 19 cents more than at this time last year ($3.49). In comparison to previous Independence Day holidays, motorists will face prices that are the highest since 2008, with today’s average ($3.68) surpassing the holiday’s price per gallon from: 2013 ($3.48); 2012 ($3.34); 2011 ($3.57); 2010 ($2.74); and 2009 ($2.62).
The situation in Iraq continues to put pressure on global oil prices, as markets weigh the potential for supply disruptions from OPEC’s second largest producer. These elevated oil prices have ultimately meant stubbornly high retail gasoline prices for motorists.
This past Friday (June 27), the price at the pump reached the $4.00 mark in the state of Washington ($4.00 today) for the first time since 2013 (May 24). The Evergreen State joins Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.21) and California ($4.13) with prices at or above $4.00 per gallon. Prices have remained relatively stable (+/- 2 cents) over the last week in 43 states and Washington, D.C., and consumers in just four states have seen prices either rise or fall more than a nickel over this same period: Alaska (+7 cents), Illinois (- 6 cents), Ohio (-10 cents) and Indiana (-11 cents). Prices over the last 30 days have been more universally volatile with consumers in 31 states and Washington, D.C. posting averages that have moved either up or down over a nickel, led by Alaska (+21 cents), Ohio (-23 cents) and Indiana (-25 cents).
Regardless of geographic location, motorists in nearly every state are paying more at the pump than one year ago. Motorists in 40 states and Washington, D.C., are experiencing a bit of sticker shock, with prices up a dime or more compared to this time last year. This largest increases are in Michigan (+42 cents), Kentucky (+37 cents) and Ohio (+30 cents). However, four states are outside of this trend and have posted year-over-year declines: Colorado (-0.1 cent), Montana (-1 cent), Idaho (-6 cents) and Utah (-8 cents).
Energy market analysts continue to monitor the situation in Iraq and the movements of the group ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). After capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, it was rumored that ISIL would enter Baghdad or the country’s southern oil producing. These concerns caused global prices to rise, but, many analysts now see this action as unlikely in the near term barring a major offensive move by ISIL.
The conversation regarding domestic production was revived this week when two Texas energy companies received permission to export ultra-light oil to foreign buyers. The decision relates to a decades long ban on crude exports, enacted in response to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and the historic gasoline shortages of the 1970s. The move falls short of relaxing the ban on oil exports, which oil producers have called for, and will remain a topic of discussion in the coming months.
At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 37 cents lower at $105.37.