Posts Tagged ‘Gas Price Commentary’

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.

Pump Prices Hit Six Week High

July 31st, 2017 by Jessica

Today’s national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.32. The national average is at its highest price since June 15 and has now increased for 12 of the last 15 days. Pump prices in 47 states and Washington D.C. moved higher on the week, resulting from strong demand, rising exports and declining U.S. crude oil inventory levels.

“As summer moves forward, the days of dropping summer gas prices appear to be behind us for now,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA Spokesperson. “U.S. crude inventories are moving in the opposite direction of demand – a perfect storm for continued price increases heading into August.”

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.02), Alabama ($2.03), Mississippi ($2.03), Arkansas ($2.06), Missouri ($2.08), Tennessee ($2.09), Oklahoma ($2.09), Louisiana ($2.09), Virginia ($2.09) and Texas ($2.10). 
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest monthly increases include: Indiana (+26 cents), Ohio (+20 cents), Michigan (+17 cents), Kentucky (+15 cents), Florida (+13 cents), Oklahoma (+13 cents), South Carolina (+11 cents), Kansas (+11 cents), Washington, D.C (+10 cents) and Delaware (+10 cents).

 West Coast

West Coast gas prices continue to be the highest in the country, with six states in the region topping the list of most expensive U.S. markets: Hawaii ($3.05), California ($2.94), Washington ($2.81), Alaska ($2.78), Oregon ($2.66) and Nevada ($2.62).

Regional prices remained stable on the week, with the exception of California. Drivers saw prices move 2 cents higher mostly due to an equipment breakdown at Phillips 66’s Wilmington, CA, refinery and ongoing planned maintenance at Tesoro’s Golden Eagle Refinery in Martinez, CA. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report shows West Coast gasoline inventories jumped 200,000 bbl, to 27.1 million bbl. This is an impressive recovery after regional stocks saw the largest one-week drop in nearly 3 years the previous week.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rockies are among the most stable in the nation, with prices fluctuating by only a few cents on the week. Drivers in Utah (-10 cents) and Idaho (-7 cents) are enjoying the largest monthly declines at the pump. The declines are likely the result of steady inventory and demand.

Great Lakes and Central States

Prices across these regions have seen significant movement over the past month. States in the region top the list of largest monthly increases: Indiana (+26 cents), Ohio (+20 cents), Michigan (+17 cents) and Kentucky (+15 cents).

The EIA’s latest report shows Midwest gasoline inventories dropped by 300,000 bbl, to 32 million bbl last week. Ohio (+10 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), Indiana (+9 cents), Illinois (+6 cents) and Kansas (+6 cents) all topped the list of largest weekly increases. Low inventory and high demand will likely result in continued increases over the coming weeks.

South and Southeast

Even as prices rise across the nation, these regions are still home to some of the lowest prices in the country. Notable states on the list of cheapest markets include: Alabama ($2.03), Mississippi ($2.03) and Texas ($2.10).

According to the EIA’s latest weekly report, 4.5 million bbl of the nationwide drawdown of crude oil came from the South and Southeast region. That weekly drop pulled regional crude inventories below the 250-million-bbl mark, after reaching 260 million bbl in June.

Regional gasoline production moved above the 3 million b/d mark last week, which is well ahead of the five-year average. The increase comes despite ongoing planned and unplanned refinery maintenance across the region, including facilities in Lake Charles, LA, as well as Texas City and Galveston, TX. Refinery maintenance, dropping inventory and booming demand will likely continue to push gas prices higher over the next few weeks.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices across the region continue to join the pack of most expensive states in the country, with Washington, D.C. ($2.55) and Pennsylvania ($2.52) leading the way.

Gasoline stocks in the region decreased by 2.1 million bbl last week, according to the latest EIA report. That decline puts total supplies on hand at 62.2 million bbl, which is more than 10 million bbl lower than levels this time last year. Tighter supplies and growing demand have put pressure on gas prices, leading to increases throughout the region. 

Oil Market Dynamics

The price per barrel of crude continues to push higher, with West Texas Intermediate approaching the $50 line on Monday after increasing 67 cents to hit $49.71 on Friday. The rally comes amid news that OPEC and non-OPEC nations will meet in Abu Dhabi on August 7 & 8. Their discussion will focus on why some countries participating in the production cut agreement, which is in place until the end of March 2018, are failing to meet their agreed targets. Compliance has become a major issue for the agreement, as rising production from OPEC and non-OPEC member countries has prevented the agreement from having a larger impact on rebalancing the global market. Moreover, at a meeting last Monday, Saudi Arabia stated its plans to limit crude exports to 6.6 million barrels per day in August, about 1 million bpd below the level last year. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates also agreed to cut exports, addressing rising fears in the market that growth in production and exports from member countries may be undercutting the cartel’s efforts to restrict supplies and raise prices in the global market.

EIA reported a 7.2 million barrel drop in U.S. crude inventories for the week ending on July 21 – a much higher number than expected. However, according to Baker Hughes, Inc.’s latest rig count, the U.S. added 2 oil rigs, bringing the record-high total to 766. All of the news has given investors mixed signals on where the market is heading, putting greater pressure on OPEC to enhance compliance and reduce exports. The needle may move in favor of higher crude prices this week, which will contribute to rising gas prices. If crude prices continue to push upward, drivers are likely to see it reflected 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.

Across the country, 39 states saw prices increase on average by three cents – a major swing from last week when only nine states posted more expensive gas prices on the week. At $2.28, the national gas price is three cents more than a week ago, which is the largest seven-day increase since before Memorial Day.

“Demand has remained strong as gasoline stocks dip for a fifth consecutive week, driving up prices at the pump,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “For much of the summer, gas prices have been fairly cheap. Those days are in the rearview mirror.”

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gasoline stocks took their largest dip – 4.4 million bbl – for the first time in five weeks, bringing levels down to 231 million bbl. That is a 10 million bbl deficit year-on-year and a factor in prices at the pump increasing.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly increases are: Indiana (+8 cents), Florida (+7 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), Michigan (+6 cents), Delaware (+6 cents), New Jersey (+6 cents), Texas (+5 cents), Pennsylvania (+5 cents), Virginia (+5 cents) and Kentucky (+4 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the cheapest gas are: South Carolina ($1.99), Alabama ($2.00), Mississippi ($2.01), Oklahoma ($2.04), Arkansas ($2.04), Tennessee ($2.05), Virginia ($2.07), Missouri ($2.07), Louisiana ($2.08) and Texas ($2.09).

West Coast

Gas prices in five West Coast states dropped on the week: Arizona (-2 cents), Hawaii (-1 cent), Nevada (-1 cent), Alaska (-1 cent) and Washington (-1 cent), while prices in both Oregon and California saw no change. The region continues to lead the country with the most expensive gas prices with a regional average price of $2.72.
After notching the biggest one-week draw in nearly two and a half years, West Coast gasoline stocks are at their lowest level in seven months. Stocks tumbled 1.7 million bbl, bringing the region’s supply level to nearly 27 million bbl, according to the EIA.

The tumble in stocks paired with potentially lower West Coast refinery runs, due to ongoing maintenance this week, means the regional decline in gas prices could be short lived and gas prices have the potenital to increase in the coming days.

Rockies

In the Rockies, gas prices were volatile on the week with three states seeing increases: Colorado (+3 cents), Wyoming (+1 cent) and Montana (+1 cent), and two states seeing decreases: Utah (-2 cents) and Idaho (-1 cent). Utah and Idaho were two of only eight states in the country to see gas prices decline on the week and both continue to hold their rank on the top ten most expensive gas list.

After four weeks of stock draws, the Rockies added 100,000 bbl to regional levels. The increase, albeit it small, was likely a factor in the region’s gas price volatility.

Great Lakes and Central States

Gas prices are more expensive on the week in all Great Lakes and Central States, except for Kansas where prices remained flat. Four states land on the weekly biggest increase list: Indiana (+8 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), Michigan (+6 cents) and Kentucky (+4 cents).

Gasoline stocks in the region increased by 1.3 million bbl, bringing regional levels to nearly 55 million bbl. While levels are above the year-ago figure by a more than 1 million bbl, they are down considerably from the 2017 high of 60 million bbl reported in February, according to the EIA.

South and Southeast

The South and Southeast saw gas prices increase on the week with Florida (+7 cents) and Texas (+5 cent) seeing the biggest jumps across the region. Even with prices going up, the region carries the country’s cheapest gas prices: South Carolina ($1.99), Alabama ($2.00), Mississippi ($2.01), Oklahoma ($2.04), Arkansas ($2.04), Tennessee ($2.05), Louisiana ($2.08) and Texas ($2.09).

Despite a 2 million bbl draw in stocks on the week, the South and Southeast house the largest gasoline stockpile of any region in the country with nearly 79 million bbl.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

All states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region saw prices increase on the week, but seven states saw significant jumps: Delaware (+6 cents), New Jersey (+6 cents), Pennsylvania (+5 cents), Virginia (+5 cents), Maine (+4 cents), North Carolina (+4 cents) and New Hampshire (+4 cents). On average, gas prices increased by three cents in the region on the week.

The increase in price is in-line with the nearly 2 million bbl draw in gasoline stock in the region on the week. Stockpiles dropped to 62 million, which is an eight million bbl deficit year-on-year, according to the EIA.

Oil Market Dynamics

The price per barrel of crude oil kicked off the week climbing above $46 for West Texas Intermediate. The positive climb, compared to Friday’s close of $45.77, follows the OPEC announcement this morning that Nigeria will join its production reduction agreement to cut oil output by a combined 1.8 million b/d from January 2017 until the end of March 2018. With today’s announcement at the 4th OPEC & Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee in St. Petersburg, Russia about Nigeria – along with other countries in the agreement pledging stricter adherence to the cuts – OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the market may have found a new foothold. However, outliers, including rising exports from OPEC and Libya’s growth in production, could stall OPEC’s efforts. In fact, at today’s meeting Saudi Arabia agreed to cut its exports by 600,000 b/d, suggesting that OPEC has its eyes on the role of exports in thwarting its efforts to increase the global price per barrel of oil.

Growth in U.S. oil production still plays a critical role in suppressing the price of crude per barrel. For example, the latest EIA report for the week ending on July 14 showed that although crude oil inventories declined by 4.4 million bbl, when being compared with the five-year average, the surplus still stands at well over 75 million bbl. The total number of U.S. oil rigs stands at 764, which is one less than last week according to Baker Hughes, Inc., and is up 393 from last year.

On both the inventory and rig count fronts, the weekly decreases only show incremental downward movement, while the overall numbers still remain very high when compared to historical data. Unless these numbers take a more pronounced nosedive, they will still depress crude prices. In the meantime, as the numbers get closer to this season’s steady, strong demand for refined products, such as gasoline, drivers are likely to see prices continue to move up.

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 $2.25, the national gas price average is just one cent cheaper than a week ago, five cents less than a month ago and four cents more than a year ago. Nationwide, last week did not see record demand, but was close to all-time high levels and continues to keep pace with summer 2016 levels.  According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gasoline stocks dropped 1.6 million bbl on the week. That figure brings national levels to 235.7 million bbl, which is approximately 4 million bbl below this time last year.

 “As we hit the middle of the summer season, consumers can still fill up for $2.25/gallon or less at 62% of gas stations in the country,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “If, however, demand keeps pace and stocks continue to draw down at sizable levels, gas prices are likely to increase this month into next. So now is a good time to take a road trip.”

On the week, only nine states saw gas prices increase: Missouri (+5 cents), Georgia (+4 cents), South Carolina (+2 cents), Tennessee (+2 cent), Louisiana (+1 cent), Maine (+1 cent), Washington, D.C. (+1 cent), Alabama (+1 cent) and Mississippi (+1 cent).

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly changes are: Indiana (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Missouri (+5 cents), Kentucky (-5 cents), Georgia (+4 cents), Illinois (-3 cents), Utah (-3 cents), Wyoming (-2 cents) and Delaware (-2 cents).
  • The nation’s top ten markets with the largest monthly changes are: Florida (-15 cents), Wyoming (-12 cents), California (-10 cents), Utah (-10 cents), Alaska (-10 cents), South Dakota (-10 cents), Colorado (-9 cents), Indiana (+9 cents), Idaho (-8 cents) and Texas (-8 cents).

West Coast

Only three states in the region saw prices change on the week: California (-2 cents), Arizona (-1 cent) and Nevada (-1 cent). All states in the region, with the exception of Arizona ($2.25), continue to lead the country with the most expensive gas prices: Hawaii ($3.05), California ($2.91), Washington ($2.81), Alaska ($2.78), Oregon ($2.67) and Nevada ($2.63). However, prices in the region are, on average, five cents cheaper than one month ago.

For the first time in four weeks, the West Coast posted a build in gasoline stocks. The 300,000 bbl brings levels to 28.2 million bbl and in line with year ago levels. The build comes despite the fact that the region’s refineries are running below typical summer levels. Refinery run levels could be back to summer time normal with PBF Energy’s Torrance, CA, and Valero’s Benicia, CA, refineries wrapping up planned maintenance this week.

Rockies

Utah and Idaho landed on this week’s leading  lists with the most expensive gas and the biggest changes. The average gas price in Idaho is $2.53, which is two cents less than last week.  At $2.47, Utah’s gas price is three cents cheaper than last week. Gas prices also fell on the week in Wyoming (-2 cents) and Colorado (-1 cent) while Montana remained flat.

The region has seen four straight weeks of gasoline stock levels decline, most recently by 400,000 bbl according to the EIA. Traditionally with stocks declining, prices increase. However, that is not the case for gas prices in the region compared to one month ago: Wyoming (-12 cents), Utah (-10 cents), Colorado (-9 cents), Idaho (-8 cents) and Montana (-6 cents).

Great Lakes and Central States

After seeing gas price increases by double-digits last week, these four states saw prices drop on the week: Indiana (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents) and Kentucky (-5 cents). Missouri was the only state in the region to see prices increase (+5 cents). However, compared to one month ago, only Indiana (+8 cents) and Ohio (+1 cent) are paying more at the pump. On average, the region’s gas price is three cents less than one month ago.

At 53 million bbl, stockpiles remained unchanged for the week and are close to a million bbl higher than a year ago.

South and Southeast

The South and Southeast saw gas prices both slide and increase on the week. Gas prices are more expensive in half a dozen states: Georgia (+4 cents), South Carolina (+2 cents), Alabama (+1 cent), Arkansas (+1 cent), Louisiana (+1 cent) and Mississippi (+1 cent), while prices dropped in Florida (-1 cent), New Mexico (-1 cent) and Texas (-1 cent).

The South and Southeast saw the bulk of the country’s gasoline stock draw, bringing total levels to 81 million bbl – the largest gasoline stockpile of any region in the country.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

States in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast saw moderate changes in gas prices on the week. Only Washington, D.C. and Maine saw prices increase, albeit by one cent, while six states saw prices drop: Delaware (-2 cents), West Virginia (-2 cents), Connecticut (-1 cent), Massachusetts (-1 cent), Maryland (-1 cent) and Rhode Island (-1 cent). The week’s modest price changes are in line with the region’s modest gasoline stock build of 100,000 bbl. Stockpiles in the region measure at 66.2 million, which is nearly 6 million bbl less than this time last year, according to the EIA.

Every state in the region is paying, on average, four cents less at the pump than one month ago. New York has the biggest price difference at six cents less.

Oil Market Dynamics

After last week’s strong finish, West Texas Intermediate appears poised to continue making gains – opening near $47 per barrel today. The market has been trending upward slightly after EIA’s most recent weekly report showed that for the week ending on July 7, crude oil inventories dropped below 500 million bbl for the first time since late January. Moreover, total inventories of crude are just 4.4 million bbl more than last year, showing that the surplus is draining – albeit rather slowly. This news seems to have given the market some hope for the continuing decline of the glut of crude that has been suppressing prices this summer. Market observers will look at this week’s EIA report to see if the trend continues.

At the end of last week, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. added 2 oil rigs, bringing the total number of active rigs to 765. This news appears to have not rattled markets this morning even though an increase shows oil companies are still investing in crude exploration and production, which will continue to add to the glut of crude. With U.S. production still growing and rising output from OPEC countries that are exempt from its production reduction agreement that ends in March 2018, OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the global oil market could be thwarted. An OPEC and non-OPEC committee meets in St. Petersburg, Russia on July 24 to discuss the status of the agreement and potential next steps to deepen its impact. As the rebalance waiting game continues, drivers are likely to continue benefitting at the pump with cheaper summer gas prices.

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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