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As COVID-19 case numbers surpass 4 million, demand for gasoline is weakening across the country. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) demand reading measures at 8.5 million b/d, which is about 11% less than a year ago. The lower demand contributed to a cheaper national average on the week – down one penny to $2.18. This is the first time since late April that the national average has declined.

“Pump prices are mostly pushing cheaper across the country as gasoline demand wanes over the past few weeks,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Gas prices are likely to fluctuate throughout the rest of the summer due to COVID-19 concerns, with the national average possibly reaching $2.25.”

Today’s national average ($2.18) is one cent more than last month and 56 cents cheaper than last year. Motorists can find gas for $2.25 or less at 70% of gas stations across the country.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Michigan (-5 cents), Indiana (-4 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents), Idaho (+3 cents), Wyoming (+3 cents), Maryland (+3 cents), Texas (-3 cents), California (+2 cents), Wisconsin (-2 cents) and Florida (-2 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.83), Louisiana ($1.85), Arkansas ($1.88), Texas ($1.88), Alabama ($1.89), South Carolina ($1.89), Missouri ($1.90), Oklahoma ($1.90), Tennessee ($1.91) and Kansas ($1.97).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Motorists in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region are saving, on average, 55 cents a gallon compared to last year. Connecticut (-68 cents), New York (-61 cents) and New Jersey (-61 cents) have the largest year-over-year difference in the region and land on the yearly differences top 10 list. On the week, only a handful of states in the region saw gas prices increase and at two cents at most: Maryland ($2.28) and Delaware ($2.24). North Carolina (-4 cents) saw the largest decrease.

With a 3.4 million bbl draw, the region’s stock levels dip to 67.6 million bbl. While measurement levels have not been this low since the end of March, stocks sit at a 9 million bbl year-over-year surplus, according to EIA data. Stock levels have steadily declined for one month, which has contributed to low volatility at the pump. Pump price savings are expected to continue into August, especially with low demand amid COVID-19 travel restrictions in the tri-state area.

Rockies

Pump price volatility remains low with Rockies region gas price averages fluctuating by only as much two cents on the week: Wyoming (+3 cents), Montana (+2 cents), and Colorado (+1 cent).

Gasoline stocks held steady at 7.6 million bbl. This measurement level is typical for the summer season. While many regions have seen demand destruction caused by COVID-19, the Rockies region has seen the least impact of all regions this summer versus last summer. Offering options to socially distance in the outdoors, tourism continues in the region, though at a lower rate than a usual summer.

West Coast

Pump price increases in the West Coast region were moderate last week, with most states seeing their averages increasing by 1 or 2 cents. Alaska and Arizona saw the only declines in the region, falling by a penny each. Hawaii ($3.22) and California ($3.16) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.80), Oregon ($2.66), Nevada ($2.65), Alaska ($2.51) and Arizona ($2.34) follow.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region increased slightly from 30.92 million bbl to 30.95 million bbl last week. If demand increases in the region this week, healthy stock levels will likely help to moderate pump price increases.

South and Southeast

Gas prices are as much as three cents cheaper across the South and Southeast region compared to last week with Texas ($1.88), South Carolina ($1.89) and Florida ($2.05) seeing the biggest savings. These three states also land on the top 10 list for largest weekly changes in the country. In the region, state averages range from $1.83 to $2.05, which are among the cheapest in the country.

Replenishing last week’s draw, stocks built by 2.1 million bbl in EIA’s latest report -pushing levels up to 89.7 million bbl. That is nearly 5 million bbl ahead of last year and 10.5 million bbl above the five-year average. This healthy level of supply will continue to help keep gas prices cheaper than last summer.

 Great Lakes and Central States

Motorists in the Great Lakes and Central states are seeing savings at the pump on the week. With a decrease of as much as a nickel, these states land on the top 10 list for largest weekly decreases: Michigan (-5 cents), Indiana (-4 cents), and Wisconsin (-2 cents). At $2.36, Illinois carries the most expensive average in the region and Missouri ($1.90) has the least expensive.

After a one-week build, stocks declined by 600,000 bbl to push total levels back to 50 million bbl. Since late May, when many states started to re-open, regional stocks have declined by 5 million bbl, according to EIA data. Total measurement levels are reflective of the typical summer time in the region.

Oil Market Dynamics

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by 22 cents to settle at $41.29 per barrel. Domestic crude prices increased due to a slight decrease in the value of a U.S. dollar. However, crude prices could fall this week, since EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic inventories increased by 4.9 million bbl. The increase, amid falling gasoline demand, could mean that the domestic crude market is oversupplied.

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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The national gas price average held steady on the week at $2.19 as 1/3 of states saw gas prices decrease and only 10 states saw gas prices increase by two to four cents. State averages saw minimal fluctuation as demand roughly held steady over the last four weeks. 

“During the last month, demand has averaged about 8.6 million b/d while, gasoline stocks have steadily declined,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Week by week, we are seeing mostly regional fluctuation at the pump based on gasoline supply and demand.”

At 8.6 million b/d, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) measures demand at a 1% decrease week-over-week, 9% increase month-over-month and a 6% decrease year-over-year. Meanwhile, gasoline stocks measure at a 1% weekly decline, a 3% decrease month-over-month, but a 7% increase compared to last year.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest changes: Indiana (-6 cents), Michigan (-6 cents), Ohio (-6 cents), New Mexico (+4 cents), Kentucky (-4 cents), South Dakota (+3 cents), Texas (+3 cents), North Carolina (-3 cents), Wisconsin (-3 cents) and Washington (+2 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.83), Louisiana ($1.86), Arkansas ($1.88), Alabama ($1.89), Oklahoma ($1.91), Texas ($1.91), South Carolina ($1.92), Missouri ($1.92), Tennessee ($1.93) and Kansas ($1.98).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

On the week, North Carolina (-3 cents), West Virginia (-2 cents) and Maine (+2 cents) saw the largest swings at the pump on the week. All other Mid-Atlantic and Northeast state averages increased or decreased by a penny, while others saw no change at all. Gas prices in the region range from $2.43 in Pennsylvania to $2.00 in Virginia.

Stock levels declined for a third week, this time by 1.3 million bbl. At 71 million bbl, total stocks are at their lowest point since May. However, levels are at an 11.5 million bbl year-over-year surplus, according to EIA data. Regional refinery rates have averaged about 50% since early May, which is helping to keep stock levels at very healthy levels and yielding minimal gas price fluctuation.

Rockies

On the week, states in the Rockies region saw gas price impacts of only a penny. Montana ($2.21) and Wyoming ($2.15) each saw an increase, Utah ($2.27) and Colorado ($2.46) a decrease and Idaho ($2.34) saw no change at all.

With a build of just over 100,000 bbl, gasoline stocks measure 7.6 million bbl. Stocks have been sitting at 7 million bbl or more since mid-May, which is typical for the summer season. However, levels were as high as 9.4 million in early March. This trend shows that as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, motorists in the region are driving more. At nearly 90% regional refinery utilization is the highest of any region in the country.

West Coast

Pump price increases in the West Coast region were moderate last week, with most states seeing their averages increasing by +2 cents. Hawaii ($3.21) and California ($3.14) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.79), Oregon ($2.66), Nevada ($2.64), Alaska ($2.52) and Arizona ($2.35) follow.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region increased from 29.6 million bbl to 30.9 million bbl last week. If demand increases in the region this week, healthy stock levels will likely help to moderate pump price increases.

South and Southeast

On the week, gas prices pushed four cents, at most, in either direction with New Mexico (+4 cents) and Texas (+3 cents) seeing the largest increases and Florida (-3 cents) seeing the largest decline. The region continues to lay claim to the lowest state averages in the country. Of the top 10 states with the cheapest average, eight reside within the South and Southeast region: Mississippi ($1.83), Louisiana ($1.86), Arkansas ($1.88), Alabama ($1.89), Oklahoma ($1.91), Texas ($1.91), South Carolina ($1.92) and Tennessee ($1.93).

The region saw a significant draw of nearly 4 million bbl, dropping stocks to total of 87.6 million bbl in EIA’s latest data report. This is the lowest measurement since mid-April, but still 4 million bbl ahed of this time last year. Gas prices will likely see fluctuation, though minimal in the week ahead.

Great Lakes and Central States

Motorists in this region are seeing gas price fluctuation on the week. With a six cent decrease, Indiana ($2.16), Michigan ($2.19) and Ohio ($2.12) top the list for this week’s largest changes in the country. Also landing on the list of biggest changes: Kentucky (-4 cents), South Dakota (+3 cents) and Wisconsin (-3 cents). With a one cent increase, Nebraska ($2.11) was the only other state to see a jump on the week.

Stocks built for the first time since mid-June, which is likely a contributing factor towards the cheaper gas prices for the majority of the region. With a 700,000 bbl add, total levels sit at 51.2 million bbl, which is about average for this time of year.

Oil Market Dynamics

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 16 cents to settle at $40.59 per barrel. Domestic crude prices fell after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories decreased by 7.5 million bbl to 531.7 million bbl. Decreasing crude stocks could mean that crude production is beginning to meet demand, which could stabilize crude prices this week, as coronavirus outbreaks continue to grow worldwide.

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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