Weekly Price Drop Not Enough to Move Below Last Year’s Average

Tamra JohnsonToday’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.21 per gallon, which is one cent cheaper than one week ago, the same price compared to one month ago and three cents more than the same date last year. National gas prices have now dropped for six consecutive days, but the usual seasonal decline has stalled as prices have remained roughly the same since early September.

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Drivers may continue to see prices wobble up and down as traders speculate on the possibility of OPEC countries developing an output agreement over the next month. Additionally, planned and unplanned refinery maintenance continues across the United States and may result in regional fluctuations in gas prices.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top five least expensive markets are: Missouri ($1.99), Oklahoma ($1.99), Arkansas ($2.01), South Carolina ($2.01), Kansas ($2.02).
  • The nation’s top five most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($2.91), California ($2.79), Washington ($2.73), Alaska ($2.63), Oregon ($2.55).

West Coast

The region continues to be the priciest in the nation, with the seven most expensive state averages: Hawaii ($2.91), California ($2.79), Washington ($2.73), Alaska ($2.63), Oregon ($2.55), Nevada ($2.52) and Idaho ($2.46). Prices in the Northwest will likely move higher due to the shutdown of BP’s Olympic Pipeline last week. BP originally planned to conduct scheduled maintenance earlier in the month but was delayed by Typhoon Songda. Pipeline maintenance is expected to conclude this week and will start again in early December. Despite maintenance in the north, drivers in California should begin seeing some relief as winter-blend gasoline appears at pumps around the state.

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Rockies

Gas prices in the Rocky Mountain region should continue to move downward heading into election week. Prices in the region have been among the most stable in the nation, due to their insulated status in the center of the country and few disruptions to regional production throughout the year.

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices in much of the Midwest have steadied since last week but are beginning to show signs of volatility which is common for the region. Prices moved slightly up or down across much of the Great Lakes states: Indiana (-4 cents), Wisconsin (-3 cents), Illinois (-2 cents), Ohio (+1 cent). Planned maintenance will continue this week at BP’s massive 430,000-b/d Whiting refinery in Indiana. The refiner helps supply much of the Midwest and any drops in supply resulting from the planned maintenance will likely be balanced by a seasonal drop in demand.

Prices in the Central United States continue to be among the cheapest pump prices in the country, including two of the states where prices are below $2.00 per gallon: Missouri ($1.99) and Oklahoma ($1.99).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Refinery issues continue to impact prices in the regions with some sates landing on the top-15 list of most expensive markets in the country: Pennsylvania ($2.40), New York ($2.38), Connecticut ($2.33), Vermont ($2.30) and Maine ($2.28). Drivers should begin to see some relief in the coming weeks as refinery maintenance wraps up. Delta’s Monroe Energy is expected to restart its 53,000-b/d fluid catalytic cracking unit at its Trainer, Pennsylvania refinery this week and PBF’s Paulsboro refinery in New Jersey is also expected to return to normal operations soon. OPIS reports that Irving Oil is expected to restart some units at its 320,000-b/d Canadian refinery in the coming weeks. The maintenance work which started back in September has resulted in price increases for drivers in much of the Northeast.

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South and Southeast

Prices in much of the South and Southeast are expected to move lower in the coming weeks as refiners recover from fall maintenance and price spikes resulting from problems on the Colonial Pipeline in September and Hurricane Matthew.

Oil Market Dynamics

Late last week, OPEC officials met in Vienna to hash out the details of a potential production freeze agreement, but several hours of discussions bore no resolution. Iraq and Iran have continued to voice concerns over participating in a production cut, and as a result, negotiations have stalled. Traders will continue to closely monitor OPEC negotiations for any indication of an agreement in the days leading up to the next official meeting scheduled for November 30.  At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $1.02 to settle at $48.70 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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