State gas price averages are fluctuating across the country, causing the national gas price average to increase by two cents on the week to $2.44. Since last week, most states saw gas price increases or decreases by as much as three cents. However, eight states did see prices increase by a nickel or more.
“Domestic wholesale gasoline and global crude oil prices increased last week causing gas prices to fluctuate,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Pump prices in the week ahead could see further volatility depending on movement of the oil market as well as U.S. gasoline demand and stock levels numbers.”
Today’s national average is 11 cents cheaper than last month, but 13 cents more expensive than last year.
- The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Indiana (+12 cents), Delaware (+8 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), South Carolina (+7 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), Michigan (+6 cents), Colorado (-5 cents), New Mexico (+5 cents), North Carolina (+4 cents) and Maryland (+4 cents).
- The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Texas ($2.09), Missouri ($2.09), Mississippi ($2.10), Louisiana ($2.11), Oklahoma ($2.14), Arkansas ($2.16), Alabama ($2.16), Kansas ($2.16), South Carolina ($2.18) and Virginia ($2.20).
Great Lakes and Central States
A number of Great Lakes and Central States are paying more to fill-up at the pump. Indiana (+12 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), Illinois (+6 cents) and Michigan (+6 cents) had the largest jumps in the region and rank among the 10 biggest changes in the country. Not every state saw increases on the week, North Dakota (-3 cents) saw the largest decrease in the region.
Regional gas price averages range from $2.09 in Missouri to $2.59 in Illinois. These states rank on the top 10 least and most expensive lists, respectively. Kansas ($2.16) also lands on the top 10 cheapest averages rankings.
Gas prices in the region have seen fluctuation in the last week as gasoline stocks increased by a little more than 100,000 bbl. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that regional stocks have steadily built since mid-November, registering total stocks at a healthy 58.7 million bbl. Regional refinery utilization is also strong at 91%. Gas prices are likely to see some volatility this week, but overall most states in the region will see price changes of a few pennies.
South and Southeast
Two South and Southeast states land on this week’s top 10 list for biggest changes: South Carolina (+7 cents) and New Mexico (+5 cents). Most regional states saw stability at the pump or an increase of only penny. Florida (-1 cent) was the only state in the region to see gas prices decrease.
Gas prices fluctuated as gasoline stocks decreased for the second week in a row. Stocks drew by more than 700,000 bbl to drive down total stocks levels to 93.2 million bbl, per EIA data. Regional refinery utilization held steady at 90%. Any fluctuation at the pump in the week ahead is likely to be minimal.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Gas prices increased by four cents or more in three Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states: Delaware (+8 cents), North Carolina (+4 cents) and Maryland (+4 cents). Pump prices are also more expensive in Pennsylvania ($2.64) and Washington, D.C. ($2.58), but only be a penny. All other states saw decreases or stability at the pump in the last week.
The five most expensive state averages in the region, which rank among the 8th – 13th highest in the country, are Pennsylvania, New York ($2.61), Vermont ($2.58) Washington, D.C. ($2.58) and Connecticut ($2.54)
Gasoline stocks built again, this week by about 400,000 bbl. That jumped total stock levels to above 67 million bbl, according to the latest data from EIA. At 65.8%, regional refinery utilization is the lowest of any region in the country. However, imports are helping to keep gasoline stocks at healthy levels and gas prices mostly cheaper for motorists in the region.
Pump prices in the West Coast region have declined, as the region nears the end of the winter driving season. On the week, Hawaii (-2 cents), Nevada (-2 cents) and Arizona (-2 cents) saw the largest decreases in the region. Hawaii ($3.58) and California ($3.49) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.08), Oregon ($2.97), Alaska ($2.93), Nevada ($2.92) and Arizona ($2.77) follow.
According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region increased slightly from 32.19 million bbl to 32.21 million bbl. The current supply level is approximately 80,000 bbl higher than 2019’s level at this time. Pump prices are expected to continue decreasing this week, barring any supply challenges, as winter demand remains low amid relatively stable stock levels.
State averages in the Rockies region saw among some of the largest decreases in the country on the week: Colorado (-5 cents), Utah (-3 cents), Wyoming (-3 cents), Montana (-3 cents) and Idaho (-3 cents).
Colorado ($2.43) lands on three top 10 lists this week. The state ranks as the seventh in terms of largest weekly change (-5 cent), the fourth for biggest month-over-month change (-17 cents) and the state with the most expensive year-over-year difference (+36 cents).
At 9.4 million bbl, gasoline stocks are about 100,000 bbl stronger than the previous week. The region carries the highest refinery rate at 92.5%, which is about 6% higher than the EIA recorded the week prior. Strong run rates will help to drive stocks levels up and keep gas prices cheaper for the motorists in the region.
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by $1.73 to settle at $52.05. Crude prices increased at the end of last week after reports emerged that the coronavirus had potentially reached its peak. Market watchers ended the week optimistic that global crude demand, which is expected to drop due to reduced travel as a result of the growing international public health crisis, would not suffer further. However, if occurrences of the virus continue to increase this week, the market may struggle to hold onto price gains. Until it appears that the public health threat from the virus declines and China’s industrial sector recovers from the impact of the virus on production, crude prices are likely to continue facing downward pressure.
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.