Archive for the ‘Fuel’ Category

Gas Prices on Steady One-Month Decline

October 9th, 2017 by AAA

Motorists are paying on average six cents less for a gallon of gasoline on the week with all states seeing prices at the pump either drop or hold steady. Today’s national gas price average is $2.49, which is 18 cents cheaper than a month ago. With the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report measuring gasoline demand at 9.2 million b/d, down 281,000 b/d from the week prior, retail gas prices are showing steady promise of returning to pre-hurricane rates.

“Gas prices have fallen steadily for the past four weeks and now we are seeing gasoline demand drop alongside prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The latest demand figures show the lowest since the week Hurricane Harvey hit and can likely be the beginning of a downward demand trend indicating even cheaper gas prices to come this fall.”

Over the weekend, Hurricane Nate made landfall over the Gulf Coast and is now a tropical depression. Ahead of the storm, many Gulf Coast oil platforms and rigs were shut down and employees evacuated. In addition, two refineries, accounting for six percent of total Gulf Coast refining capacity, shut down. Early reports speculate that refineries did not sustain damage and operations could start up today, Monday.

Overall, motorists will see minimal to no impact to gas prices in the region hit by the storm.

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly decreases: Georgia (-10 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), South Carolina (-9 cents), Indiana (-9 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Alabama (-8 cents), Tennessee (-8 cents), North Carolina (-8 cents), Mississippi (-8 cents) and Florida (-8 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest year-over-year changes: New Jersey (+49 cents), Connecticut (+43 cents), Massachusetts (+42 cents), Rhode Island (+39 cents), New Hampshire (+35 cents), New York (+35 cents), Alaska (+34 cents), Utah (+34 cents), Pennsylvania (+33 cents) and Texas (+33 cents).

South and Southeast

Hurricane Nate has had little impact on South and Southeast regional gas prices. In fact, only four other states in the country are selling gas cheaper than Louisiana. In the region, gas prices are on average six cents cheaper than last Monday, with Oklahoma ($2.23), Arkansas ($2.26), Louisiana ($2.29) and Mississippi ($2.30) carrying the cheapest gas in the region. Meanwhile, five states in the region land on this week’s top 10 states with the largest decreases: Georgia (-10 cents), South Carolina (-9 cents), Alabama (-8 cents), Mississippi (-8 cents) and Florida (-8 cents).

For the first time since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the region’s gasoline inventories increased, adding 1.9 million bbl on the week for a total inventory of 76 million bbl. This positive build indicates supply levels are getting closer to normal. However, year-over-year, the region sits at a 7.8 million bbl supply deficit, according to the EIA. Despite the shortfall, gas prices are expected to continue to decline toward more traditional fall pump prices throughout the month. 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

All states are paying less for a gallon of gasoline compared to a week ago. With an eight-cent decrease, Tennessee and North Carolina saw the largest drops of all states in the region while Rhode Island (-3 cents) and Connecticut (-3 cents) saw the smallest change in price.  

Many motorists are seeing double digit decreases in pump prices compared to one month ago, with gas prices continuing to drop: Delaware (-40 cents), Maryland (-31 cents), New Jersey (-27 cents) and Maine (-27 cents).

For a second straight week, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region increased gasoline inventory. However, despite a 1.1 million bbl build, regional inventories are 3 million bbl below this time last year, according to the latest EIA data.

Great Lakes and Central

At 10 cents less than last week, Michigan ($2.40) is the region’s one state to see the largest and only double-digit drop in gas prices on the week. All states are paying less on the week. Following closely behind Michigan are Indiana (-9 cents) and Ohio (-9 cents). With a two-cent decrease, North Dakota saw the region’s smallest decline.

The region’s pump price drop comes alongside a large 1.5 million bbl drop in the Great Lakes and Central states overall gasoline inventory. According to the EIA, this was the largest inventory drop of all regions in the country. At 50 million bbl, total levels are on par with inventory last year at this time.

West Coast

The West Coast features the highest prices in the nation this week with all states in the region appearing in the top ten most expensive markets: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($3.06), Alaska ($2.99), Washington ($2.95), Oregon ($2.80) and Nevada ($2.74). However, drivers in these states have seen some of most consistent prices week over week. Recent reports from the EIA show West Coast gasoline supplies are about 1 million bbl above the year ago level and refinery utilization is at 93 percent. Above average gasoline inventory and elevated refinery rates have contributed to steady prices in the region.

Rockies

States in the Rockies are seeing some of the smallest declines in the country: Idaho (-2 cents), Colorado (-2 cents), Utah (-2 cents), Montana (-1 cent) and Wyoming (-1 cent). At $2.73, Idaho is ranked as the eighth most expensive state for gas in the country, with Montana ($2.60) at 14th and Utah ($2.60) at 15th.

 

Oil market dynamics

Last week’s EIA report showed that U.S. crude oil stocks fell by 6 million bbl since the end of September with almost 2 million bbl in exports and refinery utilization down half a percentage point to 88.1 percent of total capacity. Decreasing fall demand combined with ample supply and slowed U.S. production has kept downward pressure on crude oil prices. While market watchers are keeping an eye on U.S. crude oil exports, attention is now focused on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will extend their reduced production agreement beyond their March 2018 deadline in order to drive crude oil prices higher. Over the weekend OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said Saudi Arabia and Russia are leading discussions among cartel members about the future of their agreement and whether or not an extension is necessary to maintain market rebalancing efforts. OPEC members are scheduled to meet again in Vienna on November 30, to assess the market and discuss plans moving forward. Since late last year, efforts by OPEC to rebalance the market have had positive impacts on prices helping to buoy crude oil above the 2016 low of $26.21. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil teetered around the $50-dollar mark and just below all week, settling $1.50 lower at $49.29 per barrel at the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX.

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.

At $2.55, the national gas price average is just two cents cheaper on the week and the most expensive pump price seen at start of October since 2015, when motorists where paying $2.29 for a gallon of unleaded.

“When fall arrives, motorists expect gas prices to be cheaper than they were in the summer. That’s just not the case this year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Back-to-back hurricanes packed a punch to Gulf Coast refineries’ gasoline production and inventory levels. As they play catch-up, gas prices are going to be higher than we’d like to see.”

Today, Gulf Coast refineries are building toward resuming normal operations, but it could take some longer than others to return to pre-hurricane production rates. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Gulf Coast utilization rates are up nearly 12 percent to 85 percent of capacity since last week. As utilization rates increase and operations improve, gas prices will drop.

“While the market continues to be volatile, post-hurricanes, AAA expects gas prices to slowly, but steadily drop by up to ten cents in the coming month,” added Casselano.

Across the country, the majority of states saw prices at the pump drop as much as eight cents on the week – with Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states benefiting the most. While five Great Lakes and Central States are paying up to 11 cents more for gas. Today, motorists can find gas for $2.50 or less at 56 percent of gas stations in the country.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly changes are: Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), Delaware (-8 cents), Illinois (+7 cents), New Jersey (-6 cents), Maryland (-6 cents), Georgia (-6 cents), Florida (-6 cents) and Maine (-6 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($3.10), Alaska ($2.99),Washington ($2.99),Oregon ($2.83), Connecticut ($2.78), Nevada ($2.77), Washington, D.C. ($2.77), Pennsylvania ($2.76) and Idaho ($2.76).

South and Southeast

Gas prices continue to get cheaper by the week by as much as six cents in many states, including: Georgia (-6 cents), Florida (-6 cents), South Carolina (-5 cents), Alabama (-5 cents) and Tennessee (-5 cents). Four states land on this week’s top ten least expensive markets in the country: Oklahoma ($2.62), Arkansas ($2.32), Louisiana ($2.34) and Mississippi ($2.38).

Despite a two million bbl drop on the week in gasoline inventory, the South and Southeast tout the highest inventory level of any region in the U.S. However, sitting at 74.2 million bbl, the region’s gasoline inventories are at the lowest level for the region since November 2015, according to EIA data. As Gulf Coast refineries come back online and inventory levels build, gas prices will continue to drop, possibly bringing the lowest pump price by year-end.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Four Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states top this week’s 10 states list with the biggest decreases: Delaware (-8 cents), New Jersey (-6 cents), Maryland (-6 cents) and Maine (-6 cents). Despite a five-cent drop in price on the week, Pennsylvania ($2.77) is selling some of the most expensive gas in the country and region alongside Connecticut ($2.78) and Washington, D.C. ($2.77). All three are on this week’s top ten most expensive markets.

After five weeks of straight gasoline inventory drops, the EIA reports a 2.4 million bbl build in the region. The increase brings levels to 55.8 million bbl, which is just 400,000 bbl less than this time last year.

Great Lakes and Central

Unlike any other region in the country, five Great Lakes and Central states are paying more for a gallon of gasoline on the week: Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), Illinois (+7 cents) and Wisconsin (+2 cent). Of note, last week Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois saw gas prices drop almost as much as they increased this week. As stated in previous reports, the region often sees volatile drops and increases from week to week. All other states in the region are paying five to one cents less at the pump compared to one week ago.

Gasoline inventories took a small drop, about 500,000 bbl, on the week. The South and Southeast was the only other region to see levels drop, according to the EIA.

West Coast

Six West Coast states are selling some of the most expensive gasoline in the country: Hawaii ($3.11), California ($3.10), Alaska ($2.99), Washington ($2.99), Oregon ($2.83) and Nevada ($2.77). While Hawaii and Alaska gas prices saw no change on the week, all other states are paying less for a gallon of gas, by two cents, on average.

According to the EIA, West Coast gasoline inventories have steadily climbed for one month. The last week added 1 million bbl, bringing the total to 28.7 million bbl and above levels this time last year.

Rockies

Gas prices are dropping steadily, but slowly in the region on the week: Wyoming (-2 cents), Utah (-2 cents), Idaho (-2 cents), Colorado (-1 cent) and Montana (-1 cent). Idaho ($2.76) continues to lead the region with the most expensive gas price, which is 18 cents more expensive than the cheapest state Colorado ($2.49).

With a 300,000 bbl build, gasoline inventories sit at 6.6 million bbl, which is the highest levels seen since mid-July for the region. The Rockies often carry low inventory levels throughout the summer due to significant seasonal tourism.  

Oil market dynamics

At the close of the NYMEX on Friday, WTI was up 11 cents to settle at $51.67/bbl, having fluctuated but made strong gains on the week. When the price per barrel of oil is above the $50 benchmark, which has happened a few times this year, it can be a key factor in driving up oil prices which, not surprisingly, benefits oil producers. Moving into this week, the market may stay above the $50 mark if there are further indications that production is tightening, which will likely lead to reduced global inventories, while demand for products refined from oil is strong. Increased rig counts and more oil production are other key indicators we track for their impact on the market. As the week progresses, other factors, such as less production by OPEC countries, will be reviewed by market watchers and assessed for impact on prices.

On the production front, indicators from last week show that oil production may still be increasing. For example, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., active oil rigs in the U.S. increased by six. This brings the total oil rig number to 750, which is 325 more than this time last year and an increase after seven weeks of decline. According to another indicator, found in last week’s EIA report, total U.S. crude oil production is running roughly 1 million b/d higher than a year ago. An increase in both indicators has signaled to the market that production from the U.S. is not slowing and could mean that global efforts by OPEC to reduce supply have stalled, curtailing additional oil price increases in the market. An increase in U.S. production means that the U.S. could export to countries with growing demand or replenish global and domestic inventories that continue to remain high. Ultimately, this could stall global efforts by OPEC to reduce supply, curtailing additional oil price increases in the market.

On the supply front, total gasoline output is strong. According to last week’s EIA report, output registered at 9.679 million b/d, an increase of 139,000 b/d from last week. For the market, this could be a sign that oil demand is holding strong — especially after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused disruptions to energy delivery systems in the U.S. – and can be an indicator that global inventories will continue declining (because of steady demand). However, overall fall gasoline demand may not be enough to drain high U.S. oil inventories.

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.

One month after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, motorists are finally seeing consistent declines in gas prices. At $2.57, today’s national average is five cents less than a week ago, 22 cents more expensive than a month ago and 36 cents more than a year ago.

“Gas prices are getting cheaper by the day,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Pump prices may not be dropping as fast as motorists would like, but with the switchover to winter-blend gasoline, consumer demand beginning to slow and Gulf Coast refineries getting closer to normal operations, consumers can expect gas prices to continue to be less expensive through October.”

For a second straight week, the Great Lakes and Central states are seeing the largest drops on the week: Indiana (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cent), Kentucky (-11 cents) and Ohio (-10 cents).

The South and Southeast states are still feeling the lingering pain of Hurricane Harvey. Gas prices are at least 30 cents more expensive than a month ago in Georgia (+44 cents), South Carolina (+39 cents), Alabama (+37 cents), Florida (+36 cents), Mississippi (+32 cents) and Texas (+31 cents).

According to the Department of Energy, Gulf Coast refinery operations were up nearly 10 percent for the week ending September 15. Overall, 10 refineries are operating at reduced rates, while three remain shutdown. In addition, the Colonial Pipeline remains on about a seven-day gasoline delivery delay, but they estimate that by the end of the month the pipeline will be returning to normal deliveries.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest monthly increases are: Georgia (+44 cents), South Carolina (+39 cents), Tennessee (+37 cents), Alabama (+37 cents), North Carolina (+36 cents), Florida (+36 cents), Rhode Island (+35 cents), Massachusetts (+35 cents), Connecticut (+34 cents) and New Hampshire (+33 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Ohio ($2.27), Missouri ($2.27), Oklahoma ($2.29), Indiana ($2.29), Arkansas ($2.35), Kansas ($2.36), Louisiana ($2.36), Kentucky ($2.40), Michigan ($2.41) and Mississippi ($2.42).

South and Southeast

Gas prices are cheaper on the week in all South and Southeast states with a five-cent drop in Florida ($2.67). With more than 4 million bbl of gasoline delivered in response to Hurricane Irma, the majority of Florida gas stations are operating with sufficient supply, according to OPIS.

Georgia ($2.67), Tennessee ($2.51), South Carolina ($2.47) and Alabama ($2.45) are seeing the largest drops. While Oklahoma ($2.29), Arkansas ($2.35) and Louisiana ($2.36) land on this week’s top 10 states with the cheapest gas prices. Traditionally South Carolina leads the country with the cheapest gas, but lost this claim four weeks ago when Harvey hit.

In the region, gas prices are 30 cents more expensive compared to one month ago. However, continued positive refinery news is expected to drive down gas prices in the coming weeks, easing the higher-than-normal gas prices South and Southeast motorists have been paying since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Four Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states land on this week’s top 10 states with the biggest decreases: Delaware (-12 cents), Maine (-10 cents), Maryland (-9 cents) and New Jersey (-8 cents). All states in the region are paying less for a gallon of gasoline than a week ago with Washington, D.C. and Rhode Island seeing the smallest decrease (-3 cents). Conversely, as compared to one month ago, Rhode Islanders are paying 35 cents more on the gallon, followed by Massachusetts (+35 cent), Connecticut (+34 cents) and New Hampshire (+33 cents).

Compared to the prior week’s 5.7 million bbl drop, gasoline inventories took a small decrease of only 1.4 million bbl on the week, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). As demands slow with the onset of fall, gas prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will continue to decrease in the coming weeks.

Great Lakes and Central

For a second straight week, the Midwest and Central states are seeing some of the largest declines in gas prices and some of the cheapest gas in the country.

  • Six states land on this week’s top 10 states with the largest drops: Indiana (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cent), Kentucky (-11 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Illinois (-9 cents) and Missouri (-7 cents).
  • Six states land on this week’s top 10 states with the least expensive gas: Ohio ($2.27), Missouri ($2.27), Indiana ($2.29), Kansas ($2.36), Kentucky ($2.40) and Michigan ($2.41).

Compared to one month ago, Indiana (-12 cents), Michigan (-7 cents) and Ohio (-3 cents) are the only three states in the country paying less at the pump. This year, the Great Lakes and Central states have been very volatile – experiencing large jumps one week followed by large decrease the following week. This trend in mind, it is not surprising to see three states are paying less than pre-Harvey gas prices.

Additionally, gasoline inventories jumped 1.3 million bbl in the Great Lakes and Central states – the largest of any region in the country – which contributes to the drop in gas prices. The only other region to see a build on the week was the West Coast, according to the EIA.

West Coast

Gasoline is $3/gallon or more in California ($3.12), Hawaii ($3.11), Washington ($3.03) and Alaska ($3.00). These states along with Oregon ($2.87) and Nevada ($2.79) land on the top 10 states with the most expensive gas in the country this week. Alaska was the only state to hold gas prices steady on the week, all of the other states saw gas prices drop, on average two cents.

The West Coast was one of only two regions that saw gasoline inventories build on the week. With an addition of 600,000 bbl, total inventories register at 27.7 million bbl – about one million less than a year ago.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rockies are one to three cents cheaper on the week: Colorado (-3 cents), Utah (-1 cent), Wyoming (-1 cent) and Idaho (-1 cent). Montana saw no change. Idaho ($2.77) leads the region with the most expensive gas price and Colorado carries the cheapest ($2.50).

With a 200,000 bbl drop, gasoline inventories sit at 6.3 million bbl, which is about a half a million less than this time last year.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 11 cents to settle at $50.66. Moving into Monday, the price per barrel is poised to stay above $50 as the market looks for signs that the global crude glut is continuing to shrink, which is not the first time this year it has made that move. One important indicator of the crude supply decline is that the number of active oil rigs in the U.S. is reducing. According to Baker Hughes, Inc., the number of active rigs dropped by five to total 744 last week, signaling that drilling operations are reducing in the U.S. and could mean that the U.S. market may tighten in the months ahead. The trend has been continuing for the last few weeks. As the impact of Harvey and Irma continues to subside, this week’s EIA report may provide more accurate information on the current state of draws from oil inventories and give the market more signs of less supply available for the production of refined products like gasoline. 

Last week, the price per barrel moved above the $50 per barrel mark after the market watched OPEC’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meeting in Vienna. The JMMC is charged with monitoring the agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut global production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). The JMMC’s analysis showed that compliance in August was 116 percent of their pledged oil output cuts, which is up from 94 percent in July. According to OPEC, the cartel’s strategy is working and is helping global crude inventories to move closer to their five-year average. This move has led the price per barrel of oil to continue moving upward, as it has since issuance of this report last Monday. OPEC’s next formal meeting will be held on November 30 in Vienna, where parties that are a part of the production reduction agreement may decide to deepen and extend the current agreement beyond March 2018.

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.

 

As South and Southeast states recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, motorists in 45 U.S. states are paying less for a gallon of gas on the week. At $2.62, today’s national gas price average is the cheapest in 14 days and five cents less than last week.

“Gas prices are dropping as the situation with refineries, pipelines and gasoline deliveries is positively progressing,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “It looks like pump prices will continue on this declining trend into the coming weeks as the regions affected by Irma and Harvey resume normal operations.”

Midwest motorists are benefiting the most with a few states – Indiana, Michigan and Ohio – seeing gas prices plummet by the double-digits inside of seven days. Meanwhile, some states in the West Coast and Rockies are seeing gas prices increase.

As gas prices drop for the majority of the country, so does the nation’s gasoline inventory. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report identifies the latest draw of 8.4 million bbl as the highest on record, much of which can be attributed to motorist fueling up in the droves in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.

“Next week’s EIA report may bring another record-demand level as a continued result of Irma, but demand is expected to sharply decline across the country by the end of September,” added Casselano.

Florida Gas Supply & Gulf Coast Refineries

Last week, at $2.73, Florida’s saw its highest gas prices since December 2014. The spike came as many gas stations faced outages as power was down and roads impassable. The good news is that in the last seven days, the state’s average has shaved off one cent. In addition, ports are open and receiving steady streams of tanker shipments as state officials continue to work with gasoline trucker and shippers to ensure timely delivery of product to retail stations. Reports indicate that the gas station gasoline outage situation is improving as stations receive deliveries.

Similarly, positive progress is being seen in the Gulf Coast. According to the Department of Energy, a total of six Gulf Coast refineries are operating at reduced rates, which is one more refinery than last week. These six facilities make-up 13 percent of refining capacity in the U.S. Five refineries continue to operate at reduced rates and three remain shut down, which represents a total of 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity.

It will likely be a few more weeks before the regions affected by Irma and Harvey are back to normal operations. Not a threat to make landfall, Hurricane Jose, a Category 1, is well off the shore of North Carolina. Currently, Hurricane Maria is closing in on the Leeward Islands and is expected to affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by mid-week, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane season ends on November 30.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly decreases: Indiana (-18 cents), Michigan (-15 cents), Delaware (-12 cents), Ohio (-11 cents), Illinois(-10 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Maryland (-8 cents), Missouri (-7 cents), Wisconsin (-7 cents) and New Jersey (-5 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($2.31), Missouri ($2.34), Ohio ($2.37), Arkansas ($2.38), Louisiana($2.39), Kansas ($2.40), Indiana ($2.41), Arizona ($2.43), Mississippi ($2.45) and Minnesota ($2.45).

South and Southeast

All states are selling cheaper gasoline with Oklahoma (-5 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Texas (-4 cents) and Georgia (-4 cents) leading the region with the biggest declines in pump prices on the week. At $2.31, Oklahoma has the lowest price of the 10 states while at $2.71, Florida is the most expensive, which is expected given the tightened gasoline supply caused by both Irma and Harvey.

As recovery in Texas moves forward, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week granted a waiver extension for federal reformulated gasoline requirements in the state. The waiver will allow stocks of “winter blend” gasoline to be used to meet demand. The EPA also waived requirements for Texas Low Emissions Diesel through October 1.

The Gulf Coast saw one of the largest gasoline inventory drops on the week – 3.7 million bbl, according to EIA data. Massive-buying in Florida and other southeast states ahead of Irma’s lent to the multi-million bbl draw. Overall, refinery utilization was down, which is understandable as refineries in the region are operating at about 61 percent of capacity, as reported by OPIS.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

With a 12-cent state gas price average decrease, Delaware had the largest price drop in the region, followed by Maryland (-8 cents), New Jersey (-5 cents), Virginia (-5 cents) and Maine (-4 cents). All states are selling cheaper gas on the week while Pennsylvania ($2.87), Connecticut ($2.85), the District of Columbia ($2.85) and New York ($2.81) land on this week’s top 10 states with the most expensive gas.

At 5.7 million bbl, the region saw the country’s largest draw in gasoline supplies, according to an EIA report. It can be assumed that a portion of the draw accounts for supply shipments directed to the south in response to tightened supplies caused by Irma and Harvey.

Midwest and Central

The Midwest and Central states are seeing some of the largest declines in gas prices: Indiana (-18 cents), Michigan (-15 cent), Ohio (-11 cents), Illinois (-10 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Missouri (-7 cents) and Wisconsin (-7 cents). The region is also selling some of the cheapest gas in the country: Missouri ($2.34), Ohio ($2.37), Kansas ($2.40) and Indiana ($2.41). Parts of the region saw gas prices spike alongside Harvey hitting the Gulf Coast. However, with pipelines resuming operations as of late, motorists are seeing gas prices tumble. As we move into fall and gasoline demand drops-off, gas prices could reach the lowest of 2017.

West Coast

Gas prices are volatile and increasing for half of the West Coast states: Alaska (+4 cents), Arizona (+1 cent) and Hawaii (+1 cent). On the week Oregon, Nevada and California’s gas price fell by one cent, while Washington remained stable. Unlike regions east of the Mississippi, the West Coast region saw an increase in gasoline inventory by a moderate 750,000 bbl.

Rockies

Similar to the West Coast, gas prices in the Rockies are unstable. Motorists Colorado (-4 cents), Utah (-1 cent) and Wyoming (-1 cent) are paying less at the pump, while Idaho gas prices remained stable on the week and Montana (+4 cents) is paying more than seven days ago.

Oil market dynamics

Last week, the price per barrel of WTI closed at $49.89. U.S. crude prices remained below $50 per barrel as of Monday morning. Since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit the U.S., oil prices have not spiked like gasoline prices did despite a quarter of the refining capacity in the country being offline due to Harvey.

As refineries work to reach pre-storm capacity levels, oil inventories may decline in the coming weeks as refineries turn to storage tanks to meet demand needs. Given that the fall driving season tends to be less demand-driven, any declines in inventories are likely to keep pace with demand.

As expected, EIA’s report last week showed a drop in crude input flows to 14.4 million b/d, illustrating that refineries affected by Harvey are taking in less oil as they resume normal operations. Any indication that the U.S. supply appears to be tightening could lead oil prices to rise. Moreover, falling by seven rigs last week, Baker Hughes reports that active oil rigs in the U.S. sit at 749.

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.

Currently, national gas price average levels out

For the first time in more than 15 days, the national gas price average appears to be leveling out despite Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma making landfall in the southeast. Holding steady for five days at $2.67, today’s national gas price average is just three cents more expensive on the week. With a seven cents increase, Florida, Indiana and Georgia were among the top 10 states who saw the largest gas price increases on the week, while some states saw gas prices drop by one to six cents (Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware and Oklahoma). At the end of last week, some Florida and other Southeast states saw consumers flock to gas stations to fill-up on fuel, causing some stations to have gas outages ahead of the storm.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma is weakening and will move near the northwestern coast of the Florida Peninsula this morning, will cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into Southern Georgia this afternoon, and move through southwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama tonight and Tuesday. Parts of Florida can expect eight to 20 inches of rain through Wednesday. Much of Georgia, South Carolina, and western North Carolina can expect three to eight inches of rain accumulation. Southern Tennessee and eastern Alabama can expect up to five inches. 

“Irma was one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in history,” said AAA Spokesperson Jeanette Casselano. “AAA’s thoughts are with all those impacted. The safety of our response teams and members is our number one priority. Our regional teams are on standby to assist members in affected areas as soon as conditions allow.”

Early reports indicate that Irma has left more than four million people without power, while water and debris cover roadways. Florida Power & Light (FPL) has 17,000 personnel from over 30 states on standby to aid restoration efforts.

Once power is restored and roads cleared, gasoline will be able to be delivered to stations in the impacted region, similar to what the Gulf Coast experienced post-Harvey.

“There is not a gasoline shortage in the U.S., but instead localized challenges — power outages, impassable roads, debris — in Florida keeping gasoline supplies from where they are needed most,” continued Casselano. “Total U.S. gasoline stocks sit above the five-year average. Since much of Florida’s gasoline delivery occurs via barge, all eyes will remain on port conditions as the storm passes.”

Currently, all Florida ports are closed while some in North and South Carolina are open with restrictions. To alleviate local supply disruptions, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security approved a Jones Act waiver for areas affected by the storms. The seven-day waiver will allow foreign flag vessels to bring in fuel to help with outages amid the response and recovery efforts.

Hurricane Harvey Impacted Refineries & Pipelines

As Floridians wait out the storm, Americans along the Gulf Coast continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey. According to the Department of Energy, at least five refineries in the Gulf Coast are operating at reduced rates, which accounts for eight percent of U.S. refining capacity. Six refineries are in the process of restarting, accounting for 12 percent of U.S. refining capacity. Five refineries remain shutdown, accounting for six percent of U.S. refining capacity. The restarting process can take several days or weeks, depending on damage. The Colonial Pipeline continues to experience a delivery delay of up to a week to Mid-Atlantic states.

“As refineries slowly come back online, states along the East Coast can expect gas prices to remain volatile as a result of already tight supply levels stemming from Harvey combined with the yet-to-be-known impact of Hurricane Irma,” added Casselano.

Today, 69 percent of gas stations in the U.S. are selling gas at $2.50 or more. Only seven percent list gas at $3 or more.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly increases: Florida (+7 cents), Indiana (+7 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), Arizona (+6 cents), Michigan (+6 cents), New Hampshire (+6 cents), Montana (+6 cents), New York (+5 cents), Nevada (+5 cents) and Rhode Island (+5 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($2.36), Louisiana ($2.40), Arkansas ($2.41), Arizona ($2.42), Missouri ($2.42), Kansas ($2.45), Mississippi ($2.47), Ohio ($2.48), Minnesota ($2.50) and New Mexico ($2.51).

 

South and Southeast

Gas prices in the South and Southeast continue to increase, although the jumps are not as dramatic as seen last week: Florida (+7 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), Alabama (+5 cents), Tennessee (+4 cents) and South Carolina (+4 cents).

With no refineries in Florida, Hurricane Irma threatens already tightened gasoline supply levels caused by Harvey. As Gulf Coast refineries come back online and increase operating rates, the Colonial Pipeline, which provides gasoline from Houston, TX to Greensboro, N.C, is experiencing delivery delays of up to a week to Mid-Atlantic states. As a result, many South and Southeast states will likely see continued gas price increases stemming from Harvey and now Irma. 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices in states across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have seen moderate increases, typically in the range of one to three cents, following last week’s double-digit increases. New Hampshire ($2.69) leads the region in increases, with the average price for unleaded gasoline rising six cents since last week. New York ($2.83), Rhode Island ($2.75), Vermont ($2.76) and Maine ($2.74), are close behind as the average price for unleaded gasoline in each state rose by a nickel since last Monday. An outlier, Delaware’s gas price fell one cent to $2.69. According to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, regional gasoline supplies dropped to 60.5 million last week. The drop reflects tightening supply due to those refineries still remaining offline after Hurricane Harvey and prices are increasing for the same reason. As pipelines and refineries return to their full operations in the region, prices should start to decrease later in the month. Temporary relief at the pump should also come from extension of the multi-state waiver issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, which will allow states to sell reformulated gasoline without additives that reduce pollution during the summer.

Great Lakes and Central States

The Great Lakes and Central States region is seeing both increases and decreases at the pump. As Indiana (+7 cents) and Michigan (+6 cents) pay more for gas on the week, four states are selling cheaper gas: Ohio (-6 cents), Kentucky (-4 cents), Kansas (-3 cents) and Missouri (-3 cents). The volatility stems mostly from Hurricane Harvey’s impact on gasoline supply distribution and a 1 million bbl drop in the region’s gasoline supply. The EIA’s latest report shows Midwest gasoline inventories remain steady at 51 million bbl.

West Coast

Compared to the rest of the country, West Coast states are seeing small price increases on the week: Arizona (+6 cents), Nevada (+5 cents), Alaska (+5 cents), Washington (+4 cents), California (+4 cents), Oregon (+2 cents) and Hawaii (+1 cents). All states, except Arizona, land on this week’s top 10 states with the most expensive gas. According to the EIA, gasoline inventory moderately increased (100,000 bbl) to bring the region’s overall supply levels to 26 million bbl. 

Rockies

All states saw gas prices increase on the week: Montana (+6 cents) and Utah (+4 cents), Wyoming (+2 cents), Colorado (+1 cent) and Idaho (+1 cents). On average, gas is selling for $2.63 in the Rockies.

Oil market dynamics

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate settled at $47.48. On Monday morning, prices are still below $50/bbl.

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.

Remnants of Harvey expected to drive gas prices through the month, prospect of Hurricane Irma may impact prices as well

Hurricane Harvey may no longer be raining down on the Gulf Coast, but the storm’s impact continues to drive up gas prices across the country. At $2.65, the national gas price average is 27 cents more expensive on the week. Motorists in 26 states are paying 25 to 44 cents more for a gallon of unleaded compared to seven days ago. In fact, every state in the country has seen gas prices increase except four (Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii and Utah), where prices remain stable. Overall, gas prices are pennies away from topping the highest price ($2.67, August 15-18, 2015) Americans have paid for a gallon of gas in more than two years.

As Texas dries out from Harvey, all eyes are on Hurricane Irma, now a Category 5 hurricane, which currently is expected to hit the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean Tuesday night into Wednesday. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. According to the National Hurricane Center, there is an increasing chance that the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys may see some impact this coming weekend. However, Irma’s changing storm track could bring an altered forecast in the coming days.

“Our regional AAA teams are preparing for the impact Irma may have on our members. The safety of our response teams and members is our number one priority,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “AAA will continue to monitor Irma’s path and the potential impact the hurricane could have on residents in the area, as well as the refineries, pipelines and supply distribution components.”

The Department of Energy (DOE) is reporting that eight Gulf Coast refineries are in the process of restarting, which accounts for about 10 percent of Gulf Coast refining capabilities. At its peak, Harvey shuttered 27 percent of U.S. processing capacity. No refineries have returned to normal rates, but at least four are operating at reduced rates. Meanwhile, pipelines forced to take pre-cautionary shut downs caused by Harvey either have resumed operations or are in the process of coming back online. This includes the Colonial Pipeline, which currently has only suspended the Texas operations, while the remainder of the system continues to operate with available supply.

In response to refineries and pipeline shutdowns, last week the DOE authorized the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to negotiate and execute emergency exchange agreements authorizing 5.6 million barrels of crude oil to be released. In addition, DOE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued waivers to Colonial to accept more product into its pipeline.

With more than 50 inches of rain, Harvey set a record for the greatest amount of single-storm rainfall for the continental U.S.

“News of refineries starting-up is very promising, especially for areas that have felt tightened supply levels over the last 10 days, but we aren’t in the clear yet,” said Jeanette Casselano. “Consumers will continue to feel pain at the pump stemming from Harvey with gas prices potentially increasing an additional five to ten cents in the week ahead. States in the south, southeast and mid-Atlantic are most likely to see the biggest surges as these states receive the bulk of their supplies from the Gulf Coast. They could even see an additional surge if Hurricane Irma hits Florida this weekend. The good news consumers will see relief from the gas price spike towards the end of this month.”

Losses in U.S. supply capability have catapulted retail prices to their highest levels since August 2015, but remain well below initial weeks of September 2011 through 2014, according to OPIS. The last two years have seen inordinately cheap gasoline as the driving season ended (Labor Day weekend) and AAA expects this to be the case come October.

Today, 74 percent of U.S. gas stations are selling gas for $2.75 or less while only seven percent are selling above $3/gallon.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly increases are Delaware (+44 cents), Georgia (+41 cents), Maryland (+41 cents), New Jersey (+40 cents), Tennessee (+39 cents), South Carolina (+39 cents), North Carolina (+38 cents), Connecticut (+37 cents), New Hampshire (+37 cents) and Massachusetts (+36 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are Arizona ($2.36), Oklahoma (2.38), Louisiana ($2.38), Arkansas ($2.40), Missouri ($2.45), Mississippi ($2.45), Kansas ($2.49), New Mexico ($2.49), Alabama ($2.49) and Minnesota ($2.50)

South and Southeast

In Houston, refiners are starting to deliver fuel to the market as well as to Dallas and West Texas areas, but it may take some time to resume normal delivery capabilities. While there is no fuel supply shortage, the state is working to overcome distribution problems – including not having enough drivers and equipment to distribute fuel. Additionally, some roads are still inaccessible due to flooding. To help alleviate fuel delivery concerns, truck drivers have been flown in from other states to assist with the distribution.

Gas prices in the South and Southeast have felt the impact of Harvey at the pump, with consumers paying on average 31 cents more on the week. The states with the biggest increases include: Georgia (+41 cents), South Carolina (+39 cents), Alabama (+36 cents) and Florida (+36 cents). At $2.53/gal, South Carolina, for the first time this year, does not lead the nation with the cheapest gas price.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across the region continue to follow the national trend of having some of the most expensive states in the country, with Pennsylvania ($2.87) and Washington, D.C. ($2.87) leading the way. Week-over-week retail averages increased and consumers are all spending 25 cents or more per gallon in Delaware (+44 cents), Maryland (+41 cents), New Jersey (+40 cents), North Carolina (+38 cents), Connecticut (+37 cents), New Hampshire (+37 cents), Virginia (+36 cents), Rhode Island (+35 cents), Vermont (+34 cents), West Virginia (+33 cents), Maine (+32 cents) and New York (+30 cents). According to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, eastern gasoline supplies stood at 62.7 million bbl on the week. Even though gas supplies remain high across the country, prices continue to react to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and distribution issues caused by flooding in the Gulf Coast. As pipelines and refineries return to their full operations in the region, prices should start to decrease later in the month.

Great Lakes and Central States

Prices across these regions have seen significant movement over the past week. States in the region with the largest weekly increases include: Missouri (+29 cents), Kansas (+25 cents), Ohio (+24 cents), Illinois (+18 cents), Wisconsin (+17 cents), Michigan (+16 cents) and Indiana (+16 cents). A majority of the price increase is due to the gasoline supply distribution disruption out of the Gulf Coast. As pipelines begin to reopen and gasoline deliveries to the Midwest get back on track, motorits will start to see some relief with lower gas prices during the month. The EIA’s latest report shows Midwest gasoline inventories remain steady at 52.2 million bbl last week.

West Coast

Despite being the region with the smallest gas price increases on the week, the West Coast continues to sell the most expensive gas. Gas prices on the West Coast increased as much as 12 cents on the week: California (+12 cents), Arizona (+9 cents), Nevada (+9 cents), Washington (+7 cents), Oregon (+6 cents), Alaska (+4 cents) and Hawaii (+3 cents).

Prices in the Pacific Northwest are relatively calm, in comparison to other parts of the country. In addition, the West Coast does not typically draw gasoline from the Gulf Coast and is not experiencing price spikes as compared to the East Coast.

Rockies

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, gas prices in the Rockies are volatile with an average increase of nine cents on the week. All states saw gas prices increase except Utah where prices are stable. However, the increase ranges from three to 22 cents: Idaho (+3 cents), Montana (+9 cents), Wyoming (+12 cents) and Colorado (+21 cents). Both Idaho ($2.78) and Utah ($2.61) have dropped off the most expensive markets list, falling to 11th and 25th respectively. Similar to the West Coast, the Rockies do not typically draw gasoline from the Gulf Coast and are not experiencing big price spikes as compared to the East Coast, with the exception of Colorado.

Oil market dynamics

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate settled at $47.29. On Monday morning, prices are still below $50/bbl.

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.

Harvey Drives Up Gas Prices Nationwide

August 28th, 2017 by Jessica

As Hurricane Harvey blasted Texas, gas prices shot up across the country. At $2.37, today’s national gas price average is four cents more expensive on the week and one of the largest one-week national gas prices surge seen this summer.

About one quarter of oil refining capacity in the Gulf Coast had been taken offline, according to forecasts by Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). That equates to about 2.5 million b/d. Harvey also caused eight refineries in Texas to shutdown, including: ExxonMobil Baytown (584,000 b/d), Deer Park (340,000 b/d), Pasadena Refining (115,700 b/d) and Phillips 66 Sweeny (260,000 b/d) in the Houston region, while several others are operating at reduced rates. In Corpus Christi, Flint Hills (304,000 b/d); Valero (300,000 b/d); CITGO (163,500 b/d) and Valero Three Rivers (91,000 b/d) remain offline since initial shutdowns began in advance of Harvey late last week. Over the weekend, Valero reported its refineries in Corpus Christi and Three Rivers sustained “substantial refinery impacts” and the company is evaluating infrastructure needs to determine when the refineries can resume operations. Corpus Christi is connected via pipeline to refineries in San Antonio and Nixon, TX, which can supply Corpus Christi if local refiners are offline for an extended period.

“No doubt, Harvey has impacted operations and access to refineries in the Gulf Coast.  However a clear understanding of overall damage at the refineries is unknown,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Despite the country’s overall oil and gasoline inventories being at or above 5-year highs, until there is clear picture of damage and an idea when refineries can return to full operational status, gas prices will continue to increase.”

On Sunday, Magellan Midstream Partners suspended all inbound and outbound refined products and crude oil transportation services on its pipeline systems in the Houston area. Conversely, the Colonial Pipeline said its Gulf Coast pipeline and terminals are continuing to operate normally. The Colonial Pipeline delivers gasoline from Houston to the Mid-Atlantic.

Harvey is expected to continue to impact the region through the middle of the week with an additional 15 – 25 inches of rain expected over the middle and upper Texas coast through Friday.

To help alleviate the tight and potential shortage of supply, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over the weekend that it will waive environmental standards on gasoline for select counties in Texas.
“As in any national or local state of emergency, AAA expects gas prices to be held in check up and down the gasoline supply chain, including prices set by refiners, distributors and dealers unless there is a clearly justifiable reason for an increase,” added Casselano.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly changes are: Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Florida (+7 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), Washington (+6 cents), Georgia (+5 cents), South Carolina (+5 cents), Washington, D.C. (+4 cents) and Texas (+4 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.11), Alabama ($2.12), Arkansas ($2.12), Mississippi ($2.12), Oklahoma ($2.13), Missouri ($2.14), Virginia ($2.15), Louisiana ($2.16), Tennessee ($2.16) and Texas ($2.17).

South and Southeast

On the heels of Harvey, gas prices in the South and Southeast states are on average three cents more expensive on the week. Florida (+7 cents), Georgia (+5 cents), South Carolina (+5 cents) and Texas (+4 cents) land on this week’s top ten states with the largest change.

In Texas, retail gas station outages have been reported. While the statewide gas price average in Texas increases, prices vary among cities hit hard by the hurricane and tropical storm. In Corpus Christi, where demand was reduced due to the storm, gas prices are one cent cheaper on the week. However, in Houston, which also was hit by Harvey, many motorist filled gas tanks ahead of severe weather, gas prices are four cents more than last Monday.

As Texas continues to deal with Harvey, another storm is heading up the East Coast and will likely turn in to Tropical Storm Irma, which is projected to hit South Carolina late Monday. While it is not expected to be a threat to the region, the potentially heavy rains and strong winds could lead to a spike in prices at the retail and wholesale levels.

West Coast

All states in the region are selling more expensive gas than last week. Washington (+6 cents) landed on this week’s top ten list of the largest increases. At $3.09/gallon, Hawaii is selling the country’s most expensive gas followed closely by California at $2.99.

West Coast gasoline inventories took a 500,000 bbl draw on the week, which is largely attributed to last week’s heavy tourism in the Pacific Northwest tied to the eclipse. The draw brings the inventory levels to 26.1 million bbl, which is the lowest level seen in the region this year.

Rockies

At the lowest level of the year, gasoline inventory in the Rockies sits at 6.2 million bbl as gas prices continue to increase in Montana (+4 cent), Utah (+2 cents), Idaho (+2 cents) and Wyoming (+1 cent). Colorado ($2.33) remained flat on the week. Idaho ($2.74) and Utah ($2.61) sell the most expensive gas in the Rockies and, for another week, hold steady on the top 10 list of states with the most expensive gas.

The Rockies could see ripple effects of Harvey in terms of gas price increases, depending on the severity of damage to Gulf Coast refineries and tight supply shortage.

Great Lakes and Central States

A flip-flop from last week’s trend of cheaper gas prices, the bulk of the region is selling gas that is more expensive this week, except for Missouri (-1 cent). Four Great Lakes and Central states saw the country’s largest increases in gas prices on the week: Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (+7 cents) and Illinois (+6 cents).

The price increases come as gasoline inventory also increases with a 1.3 million bbl build. Sitting at 52.7 million bbl of gasoline inventory and given its proximity to the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes and Central states region could be tapped to help alleviate the tightness of supplies in Texas and surrounding areas caused by Harvey.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are relatively stable throughout the region, with the exception of increases in Washington, D.C. (+4 cents) and North Carolina (+3 cents) and decreases in Delaware (-2 cents) and West Virginia (-1 cent) on the week.

The bulk of the region’s flat prices derives from the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showing that gasoline inventories in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast declined by 1.8 million bbl for the week ending August 18. Total stocks on hand now sit at 63 million bbl, more than 6 million bbl lower than year-ago levels and 3.7 million bbl higher than the running five-year average for this week. With stocks below year-ago levels, prices indicate that demand has not increased dramatically during the last weeks of summer and supply is meeting current need. However, stocks could drop and prices may increase in the week ahead depending on Harvey’s impact on the ability of several Gulf Coast refineries’ to return to operational status.

Oil market dynamics

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate remained below $50 – settling at $47.87. On Monday morning, prices began to fall as news of refinery closings due to Tropical Storm Harvey began to influence the market. Refinery closings signal that less oil will likely be consumed as catastrophic flooding persists in the region, and assessments of damage to energy infrastructure assets are stalled until conditions improve. All of this uncertainty has made the market jittery.

EIA data released last week showed that crude oil inventories dropped by an additional 3.3 million bbl. The continued decline in crude oil has been largely tied to strong refining operations as gross inputs refineries across the U.S. have topped 17 million b/d every week going back to mid-April. However, this trend could change due to refinery closures and reduced operations due to Harvey. As the emergency situation evolves, refiners in other regions, additional imports and alternative transportation routes may be needed to fill any gaps in meeting demand during the aftermath of the storm – all of which could tighten supply and add extra costs to getting gasoline to the pump.

Moreover, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., active oil rigs are down by four, standing at 759 as of last week. Fewer active rigs — coupled with crude oil output being currently reduced by more than 21 percent in the Gulf of Mexico due to the storm — could be a recipe for oil prices to jump throughout the week. However, any price jumps will be linked with matching demand estimates, which could signal a dramatic decline based on the storm.

It is still too soon for the market to know how badly damaged energy infrastructure is from the storm, but the coming days will offer more insight into how long recovery and restoration may take. Demand shifts based on the storm and countermeasures the market will take to meet a new supply and demand landscape will also be evaluated. 

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.

Gas Prices Fluctuate Across the Country

August 21st, 2017 by AAA

Prices Decrease in Midwest, East Coast and South as West Coast and Rockies see Pump Prices Increase

At $2.33, the national gas price average is two cents cheaper than a week ago. Consumers in most Midwest, East Coast and Southern states are paying, on average, two cents less on the week, while most West Coast and Rockies states are seeing pump prices increase on average by three cents. Today’s national average is five cents more than a month ago and 17 cents more expensive than a year ago.

As gas prices continue to fluctuate across the country, growth in gasoline production combined with record-breaking high refinery runs continue to drive the country’s already relatively high gasoline inventories even higher. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that despite growing domestic and foreign demand, today’s national gasoline inventory levels sit at 231 million bbl and remain higher than the previous five-year average.

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s largest weekly changes are: Indiana (-10 cents), Oregon (+10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Idaho (+7 cents), Illinois (-5 cents), Utah (+5 cents), Washington (+5 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Nebraska (-4 cents).

 

  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.06), Alabama ($2.09), Mississippi ($2.09), Oklahoma ($2.10), Arkansas ($2.10), Texas ($2.14), Tennessee ($2.14), Virginia ($2.14), Missouri ($2.14) and Louisiana ($2.15).

 

West Coast

With the exception of Hawaii, all states in the region are selling gas that is more expensive on the week: Oregon (+10 cents), Washington (+5 cents), Nevada (+2 cents), Alaska (+1 cent), California (+1 cent) and Arizona (+1 cent). Hawaii’s gas price dropped by one cent in the last week. The country’s first total solar eclipse, happening today, is the driver behind Oregon’s double-digit increase. The state is seeing an influx of visitors to witness the event.

Despite a small 100,000 bbl build on the week, West Coast gasoline inventories are 3.6 million bbl lower than this time last year. For the third consecutive week, the region’s total inventory registers under 27 million bbl, the second lowest inventory levels of all regions. However, the West Coast continues to lead the country with the most expensive gas prices.

Rockies

Gas prices continue to increase for the bulk of states in the Rockies as the region’s gasoline inventory levels hit a yearly low of 6.3 million bbl. Consumers in four states are paying more on the week: Idaho (+7 cents), Utah (+5 cents), Montana (+1 cent) and Wyoming (+1 cent), while Coloradoans are paying one cent less.

Compared to a month ago, gas prices in the region are on average 12 cents more: Idaho (+19 cents), Utah (+13 cents), Wyoming (+13 cents), Montana (+9 cents) and Colorado (+5 cents). Typically, the region sees higher gas prices in the summer due to seasonal tourism.

Great Lakes and Central States

Six Great Lakes and Central states saw the country’s largest decrease in gas prices on the week: Indiana (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Illinois (-5 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Nebraska (-4 cents). As prices at the pump drop, so does the region’s gasoline inventory. According to the latest EIA report, the region drew one million bbl of gasoline on the week, the largest of any region in the country. Typically, gas prices increase with growing demand; however, the region often sees high volatility, which impacts gas price trends week by week.

South and Southeast

On average, gas prices in the South and Southeast states are one cent cheaper on the week with every state seeing gas prices decline. With a two-cent decrease, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia saw the largest declines.

Two refineries saw activity that halted production in the last week. ExxonMobil’s 584,000-b/d Baytown, Texas, refinery was forced to shut a hydrocracker unit a day after restarting, following the end of a two-month turnaround. The latest update on Friday was that the unit was still undergoing maintenance. Additionally, Shell’s 340,000-b/d Deer Park, Texas, refinery is expected to be shut down for at least a week following a fire. The issues had an immediate impact on market spot prices, but not prices at the pump.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are cheaper in all states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on the week with the exception of New York where gas prices remained stable. With a three-cent decrease, New Jersey is seeing the largest decline in the region followed by two-cent decreases in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia.

The price drop goes hand-in-hand with the region’s latest gasoline inventory trend. For a second consecutive week, the region saw the sizeable build (800,000 bbl) in gasoline inventory. Total inventories sit at 64.8 million bbl, about five million less than this time last year, according to EIA data.

Oil market dynamics

At the end of last week, the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate stayed below $50 – settling at $48.51. On Monday morning, prices appeared to be falling due to a weak dollar and continued worries about high crude oil inventory levels.

According to the EIA report for the week ending on August 11, gasoline production moved higher to 10.2 million b/d. With greater demand for refined products like gasoline, crude inventories decreased by 8.9 million bbl – a much larger than expected drawdown. Additionally, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that active oil rigs in the U.S. fell by five last week, landing at 763. The movement of these key figures show that August is setting a strong scene for crude oil supplies to become tighter as demand continues full steam ahead with the summer driving season coming closer to its end.

On the flip side, U.S. crude output climbed 79,000 b/d to 9.502 million b/d – which is the highest level seen in two years. The greatest portion of the increase came from Alaska, but production in the continental U.S. (driven by shale activity) moved higher to 25,000 b/d. This continued growth in U.S. production continues to add to the global glut of crude, putting downward pressure on crude prices. As a result, market observers will look toward this week’s EIA report to see if the trend continues, noting that gasoline demand along the path of today’s solar eclipse may help boost numbers. Drivers in the viewing pathway may see prices spike due to high demand.

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.

Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.35 per gallon, which is flat on the week, nine cents more than one month ago, and 22 cents more than last year. Compared to seven days ago, gas prices are more expensive in 27 states, cheaper in 12 states and flat in 12 states. The West Coast, Rockies and Midwest regions are seeing the bulk of the increases at the pump.

“Prices at the pump continue a slow, upward climb as the summer season draws to a close,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “As we get closer to Labor Day and demand and production rates grow, drivers will likely see some of the highest prices at the pump this year.”

Quick Stats

  • Largest weekly increases: Idaho (+9 cents), Indiana (+7 cents), Utah (+7 cents), Michigan (+6 cents), Ohio (+6 cents), Wyoming (+3 cents), Hawaii (+3 cents), Illinois (+3 cents), West Virginia (+3 cents) and Oregon (+2 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.08), Alabama ($2.10), Mississippi ($2.10), Arkansas ($2.11), Oklahoma ($2.12), Missouri ($2.14), Tennessee ($2.15), Virginia ($2.16), Texas ($2.16) and Louisiana ($2.16).

West Coast

On average, gas prices on the West Coast increased two cents on the week. Hawaii is selling the most expensive gas in the country at $3.09 as California ($2.98) inches closer to the $3/gallon mark.  

In the region, gasoline inventories dropped moderately on the week (200,000 bbl) as supplies tighten. Total inventory registers at 26.5 million bbl, which is the lowest levels seen on the West Coast in 2017 and two million bbl behind a year ago. Imports painted a bleak picture on the week; totaling 119,000 bbl compared the 375,000 bbl the week prior and below the year-ago level of 161,000 bbl.

As the country’s first total solar eclipse since 1979 approaches next week, August 21, Oregon ($2.70), which is in the path of totality, is likely to see gas prices increase. Oregon’s Department of Energy expects about one million visitors to the state, which will inevitably drive up demand for gasoline and gas prices.

Rockies

As gasoline inventories in the region hover near a low for the year, three states in the region land on this week’s list of states with the largest weekly increases: Idaho (+9 cents), Utah (+7 cents) and Wyoming (+3 cents). Drivers in parts of Idaho ($2.65) and Wyoming ($2.38) can expect gas prices to increase in the coming week as both states expect an influx of tourists for the August 21 solar eclipse.

Great Lakes and Central States

Despite a nearly 800,000 bbl build in gasoline, low inventory levels are driving gas prices up in the Great Lakes and Central States. Three states in the region land on this week’s top states with the biggest increases: Indiana (+7 cents), Michigan (+6 cents) and Ohio (+6 cents). As we’ve seen for most of the year, the region remains volatile. Just last week these same three states saw comparable declines at the pump:  Indiana (-8 cents), Michigan (-7 cents) and Ohio (-7 cents).

In the region on the week, gas prices increased in a total of seven states, decreased in three states and remained flat in three states. All states in the region with increases include: Indiana (+7 cents), Michigan (+6 cents), Ohio (+6 cents), Illinois (+2 cents), Kansas (+1 cent), North Dakota (+1 cent) and Wisconsin (+1 cent). States with decreases: Kentucky (-4 cents), Missouri (-3 cents) and Minnesota (-1 cent).

South and Southeast

The South and Southeast states are seeing gas prices fluctuate throughout the region. Three states are paying more than a week ago, albeit just one cent: Mississippi, New Mexico and Alabama, while four states are paying less: Florida (-2 cents), Texas (-2 cents), Oklahoma (-1 cent) and South Carolina (-1 cent). Prices remain flat on the week in Arkansas, Louisiana and Georgia.

According to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, the region saw a 1.4 million bbl increase in inventories on the week bringing totals close to 82 million bbl, marking the largest inventory of any region in the country. Overall, the South and Southeast inventory is 4 million bbl more than this time last year. However, as demand continues to remain strong into the end of summer, inventories are likely to fall in coming weeks.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

On average, consumers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states are paying $2.36 a gallon – which is flat compared to last week. Only three states in the region saw gas prices increase: North Carolina (+2 cents), West Virginia (+2 cents) and Virginia (+1 cent). Notably, six states saw decrease: Delaware (-5 cents), Maryland (-2 cents), New Jersey (-2 cents), New Hampshire (-1 cent), Pennsylvania (-1 cent) and Rhode Island (-1 cent).

Similar to its neighboring gulf coast region, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states saw a 1.4 million bbl build in gasoline inventory. This is attributed to a doubling of imports (from 500,000 b/d to 910,000 bbl) and refinery rates at a notable nearly seven percent increase.

Oil market dynamics

After closing on the NYMEX at $48.82 per barrel on Friday, WTI started moving downward Monday morning amid concerns from investors that U.S. production will continue to add to the global crude glut. According to Baker Hughes, Inc. three oil rigs were added to the U.S. count last week, totaling 768, which is 372 rigs more than last year’s count at this time. Growth in active rigs has moved in the opposite direction of crude inventories, which have declined by over 33 million bbl for seven consecutive weeks. The current crude oil storage level of 475.4 million bbl is the lowest since early October, and total inventories, when compared to the five-year average, have moved lower to just over 66 million bbl. The reduction in inventories has given the market greater confidence, but the growing rig count remains a concern as it indicates that oil companies are still investing heavily in U.S. production.

Additionally, last week, the EIA published a report that pointed to a revised record gasoline demand at 9.842 million b/d for the week ended on July 28. The demand figure for the week ending on August 4 noted a small pullback, but overall the last four weeks of gasoline demand have been on par with that of a year ago. The recent good news for gasoline demand does not end there, as final monthly renderings for April and May pointed to record highs. If the trend holds, final readings for June and July are likely to follow suit, confirming that gasoline production by U.S. refiners and blenders has been running near record levels over the first seven months of 2017.  

With strong gasoline production levels and seasonal demand staying on track, drivers will likely see prices continue to climb across the country. In fact, as OPEC seeks to re-double its efforts to rebalance the global oil market, any additional steps from it to curb growth in production may lead to higher oil prices. At a meeting in Abu Dhabi last week with OPEC and non-OPEC producers – all members of a pact that has agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until March 2018 – the group decided to take action, including curtailing exports, to comply more fully with the agreement. If those measures meet full success, it will likely lead to higher prices at the pump.

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.

 

Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.35 per gallon, which is three cents more than last week, nine cents more than one month ago, and 23 cents more than at the same time last year. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report shows gasoline demand reached a new weekly record of 9.842 million b/d. The 2017 demand average over the past four-weeks is about one percent ahead of the same four-week period last year. With summer demand running full steam ahead, drivers can expect prices to continue rising.

 

Quick Stats

The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.09), Mississippi ($2.09), Alabama ($2.10), Arkansas ($2.11), Oklahoma ($2.13), Tennessee ($2.14), Virginia ($2.15), Louisiana ($2.16), Missouri ($2.17) and Texas ($2.17).

The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly change include: Missouri $2.17 (+9 cents), Iowa $2.31 (+8 cents), Indiana $2.30 (-8 cents), Nebraska $2.32 (+7 cents), North Dakota $2.31 (+7 cents), Texas $2.17 (+7 cents), South Carolina $2.09 (+7 cents), Alabama $2.10 (+7 cents), Michigan $2.41 (-7 cents) and Ohio $2.25 (-7 cents).

West Coast

Hawaii ($3.06) remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline and drivers in the state are paying 10 cents more per gallon than second-place California ($2.96). Regional neighbors, Washington ($2.82), Alaska ($2.80), Oregon ($2.68) and Nevada ($2.63) join in the rankings as the top six most expensive markets. The latest weekly EIA report shows West Coast gasoline inventories dropped 400,000 bbl to 26.7 million bbl, which is below the 28 million bbl mark that most market watchers consider a comfort zone.

California’s boutique reformulated gasoline (RFG) inventories increased 2.6 percent to 4.914 million bbl last week, according to the California Energy Commission (CEC). However, supply levels are still 7 percent lower than this same period last year when the state was experiencing high imports and impressive refinery production. OPIS reports that Oregon refiners are ramping up production in anticipation of an expected tourist spike related to the total solar eclipse later this month. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. since 1979, and the Oregon Department of Energy anticipates it will draw about 1 million visitors to the state.

Rockies

Increased driving demand pushed prices higher across most of the region, with Wyoming (+ 6 cents) landing on the nation’s list of top 15 weekly price increases. Idaho (+5 cents), Colorado (+5 cents), Montana (+4 cents) and Utah (+4 cents) also saw sizable gains on the week.

Great Lakes and Central States

Drivers in the Great Lakes region were some of the only people in the nation to see drops at the pump this week: Indiana (-8 cents), Michigan (-7 cents) and Ohio (-7 cents). The latest EIA report shows Midwest gasoline inventories dropped 1.2 million bbl to 51.6 million bbl last week. The current inventory levels are in pace with this same period last year and are about 2 million bbl above the five-year average.

South and Southeast

The region remains home to the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline: South Carolina ($2.09), Mississippi ($2.09), Alabama ($2.10), Arkansas ($2.11), Oklahoma ($2.13), Tennessee ($2.14), Louisiana ($2.16) and Texas ($2.17). Last week’s EIA report showed that gasoline inventories for states in this region dropped by more than 1 million bbl, resting at 80.4 million bbl. The report also shows regional refineries running at 97 percent, which means their capacity to produce refined products like gasoline, is at a very high level. The strong output capacity is contributing to inventories in the region being around 5.25 million bbl ahead of the 5-year average, as noted from data in EIA’s weekly report.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pump prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions moved higher on the week, with Washington D.C. ($2.55), Pennsylvania ($2.52), Connecticut ($2.46), New York ($2.45) and New Jersey ($2.37) all landing on the top 15 list of most expensive markets, while Virginia ($2.15) and North Carolina ($2.16) landed on the list of top 15 least expensive markets. With most of the country seeing declines in gasoline inventories, this region saw gasoline inventories increase by approximately 400,000 bbl, according to EIA’s latest reports. With the continued record high output rates for refined products, refiners are able to cheaply produce large amounts of gasoline and store it in the regions. However, as gas prices increase and demand stays strong, storage levels are likely to fall.

Oil market dynamics

After briefly pushing above the $50 benchmark last week and then dropping down, the price per barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) once again appears poised to push above $50 after increasing 55 cents to settle at $49.58 on Friday. With market observers watching crude storage levels to see if they decline, this week’s EIA report was welcomed news since it showed that they had reached their lowest point this year at 481.9 million bbl. However, last week’s excitement was tempered by total crude storage remaining at approximately 70 million bbl ahead of the five-year average. 

EIA’s report also showed an increase in domestic crude oil output to 9.43 million b/d last week, making it clear that the glut of crude will not disappear easily. On the other side, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the U.S. lost one oil rig last week, bringing down the total number of active rigs to 765. The modest decline may be an indicator of investment in offshore drilling leveling out for the year. 

As OPEC and non-OPEC countries convene today and tomorrow in Abu Dhabi to discuss compliance with the production reduction agreement in place through the end of March 2018, more time or dramatic actions from major producers may be needed to hasten efforts to rebalance the global oil market. In the meantime, gains in the market are likely to be moderate as drivers see prices continue to increase at the pump.  

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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