Gas Prices Make Unexpected Jump

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 15, 2015) Pump prices have climbed higher during the previous week, even though many market experts continue to believe that gas prices are nearing a seasonal high due to the completion of seasonal refinery maintenance and abundant crude oil supplies.  The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline moved higher each of the past six days reaching today’s average of $2.80 per gallon. Today’s average price represents a new 2015 high, and the national average is five cents more than one week ago and 10 cents more than one month ago. Gas prices unexpectedly have jumped in many areas over the previous week due to a decline in gasoline stocks caused by high fuel demand and persistent refinery problems, which has limited gasoline production. Despite the rise in pump prices, drivers continue to experience significant year-over-year savings with today’s average price about 86 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.

2012-2015_Avg-Gas-Prices1

California ($3.53) is one of four states where motorists are experiencing weekly savings at the pump, yet it remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline. The Golden State is followed by Alaska ($3.37), Hawaii ($3.34) and Nevada ($3.23). A total of eight states are posting averages above $3 per gallon. The West Coast continues be the nation’s most expensive region for gasoline, but is closely followed by the Midwest, where  a drawdown in gasoline stocks and issues at regional refineries have combined to push prices dramatically higher.  Drivers in South Carolina ($2.49) and Mississippi ($2.52) are paying the lowest averages at the pump.

On the whole, pump prices are trending higher week-over-week. Averages have moved higher in 46 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period, and drivers in 19 states and Washington, D.C. are paying a nickel or more per gallon to refuel their vehicles. The largest jumps in price were in the Midwestern states of Indiana (+28 cents), Michigan (+25 cents) and Ohio (+13 cents). The only states with weekly declines include California (-8 cents), Nevada (-3 cents) and Arizona (-2 cents) and New Mexico (fractions of a penny).

Top10-Highest-Average-Gas-Prices-6-15-151

Monthly price comparisons also reflect higher averages for American drivers. Consumers in 47 states and Washington, D.C., are paying more at the pump, and the price is up by a nickel or more in 45 states and Washington, D.C. The states posting the most dramatic month-over-month increases in price include: Michigan (+33 cents), Illinois (+25 cents), Montana (+24 cents), Indiana (+21 cents) and Ohio (+21 cents). Drivers in a total of 34 states and Washington, D.C. are paying monthly premiums of a dime or more per gallon. The only three states where the price has moved lower over this same period are the Western states of California (-28 cents), Nevada (-6 cents) and Arizona (-4 cents).

Retail averages remain significantly discounted year-over-year, with the majority of drivers (45 states and Washington, D.C.) saving more than 75 cents per gallon. The largest discounts in the price at the pump are in Ohio (-$1.04), Hawaii (-$1.02) and Kentucky (-$1.01).

Top10-Largest-Weekly-Increase-6-15-151

Even though regional refinery issues have driven the recent increase in the national average for retail gasoline, the cost of crude oil remains the underlying factor in the price motorists pay at the pump. Market analysts continue to suggest that ample crude oil supply will outpace global demand and characterize oil markets in the near term. Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading crude exporter, is reportedly prepared to increase its production to meet strong demand, which likely would keep a ceiling on the price of crude. Domestic production also remains elevated and is expected to remain at or near current levels, despite the reduction in U.S. oil rig counts.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down 81 cents and settled at $59.96 per barrel.

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

Related Articles

B-Roll

YouTube Videos

AAA Senior Driver Expos

NewsRoom Video Gallery

Media: Find and Download AAA Videos and B Roll.