WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 18, 2023)—The usual ebb and flow of pump prices took a break this week, with the national average for a gallon of gas stuck at $3.53, identical to a week ago. A decline in demand and the low cost of oil are the main culprits.
“Despite mild weather and a less volatile economic forecast, drivers are not hitting the road and raising gasoline demand to traditional seasonal levels,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “It’s possible this is merely the lull before Memorial Day, but it could be a trend that lingers into summer. Stay Tuned.”
According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand declined from 9.30 to 8.91 million b/d last week. The drop has reduced pressure on pump prices. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 1.4 million bbl to 218.3 million bbl. If gas demand continues to decrease, drivers could see pump prices follow suit.
Today’s national average of $3.53 is 14 cents less than a month ago and $1.03 less than a year ago.
Since last Thursday, these 10 states have seen the largest changes in their averages: Utah (+20 cents), Michigan (+20 cents), Florida (−7 cents), Wisconsin (+5 cents), Kentucky (+5 cents), Iowa (+5 cents), Delaware (+4 cents), Arizona (−4 cents), Colorado (−4 cents) and Indiana (−3 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($2.97), Texas ($3.08), Louisiana ($3.08), Alabama ($3.09), Arkansas ($3.10), Tennessee ($3.13), South Carolina ($3.14), Oklahoma ($3.17), Missouri ($3.18) and Kansas ($3.23).
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Wednesday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $1.97 to settle at $72.83. Oil prices rose yesterday amid growing market optimism that global energy demand is rebounding, particularly since China is recovering faster than originally expected following the lifting of its COVID restrictions. Additionally, the EIA reported that total domestic commercial crude inventories increased by 5 million bbl to 467.6 million bbl last week.
Drivers can find current gas prices along their route using the AAA TripTik Travel planner.