Average U.S. Gas Prices Holding Steady Near 2015 High

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 22, 2015) After reaching a new high for 2015 last week ($2.80), the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has dropped slightly to $2.79 per gallon. Today’s price is five cents higher than one month ago and remains significantly discounted from this time last year with drivers saving an average of 89 cents per gallon year-over-year.

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Pump prices in recent days have stabilized or even dropped in many areas as refineries solve productions issues. For example, ExxonMobil’s refinery in Joliet, Ill. and PBF Energy’s refinery in Toledo, Ohio are reportedly operating at normal rates following recent malfunctions, which should further support the region’s gasoline supplies. Gasoline production typically increases this time of year in anticipation of summer demand, and high profit margins should incentivize refineries to produce more gasoline in the near future, which may help lower gas prices.

Drivers in California ($3.49) are paying the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline, though prices have dropped significantly as refineries increase production and the supply situation in the region improves. The Golden State is joined by its regional neighbors: Alaska ($3.44), Hawaii ($3.36), Nevada ($3.21) and Washington ($3.18) as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline. A total of seven states are posting averages above $3 per gallon. Consumers in South Carolina ($2.48) are paying the lowest price at the pump, and are saving more than $1 per gallon compared to California.

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Retail averages were relatively stable week-over-week, moving by +/- 3 cents per gallon in 40 states and Washington, D.C. Motorists in 21 states are experiencing weekly savings at the pump, with the largest savings in the Midwest: Indiana (-15 cents), Ohio (-10 cents) and Michigan (-9 cents), largely due to refineries coming back online following production issues. On the other end of the spectrum, averages in 29 states and Washington D.C. climbed higher over this same period, although in a less dramatic fashion. The price is up by more than a nickel per gallon in four states: Washington (+8 cents), Oregon (+8 cents), Alaska (+6 cents) and Delaware (+6 cents).

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Motorists in the majority of states (45 and Washington, D.C.) are paying more than a month ago for gasoline. The average price per gallon is up by a nickel or more in 40 states and Washington, D.C. and by a dime more per gallon in 17 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period. Month-over-month, the largest increases in price have been in Montana (+19 cents), Alaska (+17 cents), North Dakota (+17 cents) and South Dakota (+13 cents). Outside of this trend, averages are down in five states versus one month ago. Consumers in California (-28 cents), Nevada (-10 cents) and Arizona (-6 cents) are saving the most per gallon.

Yearly price comparisons continue to reflect significant discounts for motorists nationwide. Four states are posting savings of $1 or more per gallon: Ohio (-$1.02), Kentucky (-$1.02), Connecticut (-$1.01) and Michigan (-$1.00). Drivers in a total of 45 states and Washington D.C. are saving more than 75 cents per gallon at the pumps.

Crude oil prices moved lower late last week due to a stronger U.S. dollar amid concerns about Greece’s financial instability. Eurozone leaders are continuing to negotiate in hopes of preventing a Greek default. A default or Greece’s exit from the Euro group would likely impact financial markets and could reduce global energy demand. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reported its largest production levels since October 2012, and the U.S. also continues to produce at record levels. This means the global market is likely to remain oversupplied in the near term and any reductions in demand are expected to put downward pressure on price and exacerbate the current dynamic of oversupply.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down 84 cents and settled at $59.61 per barrel.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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