Posts Tagged ‘Average Gas Prices’

Cheap Crude Oil Paves Way for Significant Savings at the Pump

August 22nd, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

AAA Forecasts National Gas Price Average to Land at $2.40 or Lower This Fall

WASHINGTON (August 22, 2019) – When filling-up at the pump this fall, the majority of U.S. motorists will find savings of potentially more than 25-cents/gallon compared to this summer. The national gas price average, which is already 15-cents cheaper than just five weeks ago, is poised to continue pushing less expensive due to several factors, including less expensive crude oil prices, the drop-off in gasoline demand after Labor Day and the move to winter-blend gasoline. AAA forecasts the national average to drop to $2.40 or lower this fall and offers motorists easy tips to maintain fuel efficiency throughout the year.

Additional Resources

“AAA predicts that fall gasoline prices will be significantly less expensive than this summer with motorists finding savings in every market across the country,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Many factors are driving this decrease, but the low price of crude oil is chief among them.”

AAA forecasts crude prices to range between $50 and $60 per barrel this fall. That is a considerable drop from last fall when prices ranged between $60 and $75. Why so cheap? Current total domestic crude inventories sit at 438.9 million bbl, which is 31.5 million bbl higher than last year at this time. The continued glut of oil encouraged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners to extend their 1.2 million b/d production reduction agreement through the end of the year. However, so far, reduced supply from OPEC and its partners has not led to a sustained higher price for crude.

As always, hurricane season has the potential to cause declining gas prices to shoot back up. This month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that 2019’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be above normal, with 10 to 17 named storms, including five to nine hurricanes. The mere threat of a hurricane making landfall can shutter domestic crude production, leading to spikes in crude and gasoline prices. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused the national gas price average to jump 30-cents in a matter of days.

Fall Regional Outlooks

  • West Coast: This region is consistently home to the most expensive markets in the country, even though the crude refinery utilization rate in the region has grown to nearly 97 percent this summer. Growing stocks have helped to push prices lower across the region. Gas is $3.01 or more in all seven states in the region except Arizona. As fall brings lower demand for gasoline, AAA expects the West Coast to see gas prices drop, in light of higher stock levels, during the months ahead.
  • Great Lakes and Central States: Gasoline stocks and regional refinery utilization have seen mostly weekly increases, with the exception of a few, throughout the summer. Moving into the fall, refinery utilization will likely slow as demand hits a post-summer slump and refineries make the switch to winter-blend gasoline production and undergo planned maintenance. Prices should push cheaper, but that won’t stop the typically volatile region from being susceptible to sudden price shocks
  • Mid-Atlantic and Northeast: Total gas stocks in the region sit at 61 million bbl, which is 3 million bbl less than last year this time. Part of the year-over-year deficit stems from the pending closure of Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the largest refinery on the East Coast. This would usually lead to a spike in gas prices. However, gasoline imports are easing supply concerns and keeping retail gasoline prices moving lower. Though any further supply disruptions could cause prices in the region to spike temporarily.
  • South and Southeast: This summer, the region has averaged a gasoline stock level of nearly 84 million bbl, with healthy regional refinery utilization rates, which have helped keep gas prices low. Motorists in the South and Southeast can expect to find savings at the pump this fall, potentially even under $2/gallon by year-end, barring any major hurricanes.
  • Rockies: Typically gas prices skew their highest for the Rockies region during summer tourism season. That was no different this year. However, prices were significantly cheaper than summer 2018 – Utah and Idaho’s averages priced under $3/gallon for all of July, compared to a high of $3.22 in 2018. As the tourist season winds down and demand slows, gas prices may see some fluctuation, but overall, motorists can expect prices to remain steady as gasoline stocks sit at their highest level – 7.5 million bbl – recorded by the EIA for the month of August.

Boost your Vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency

In addition to cheaper gas prices, there are other ways to save at the pump and boost your vehicle’s fuel efficiency this fall.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Americans drive an average 11,498 miles per year, and annual per-vehicle gasoline use totals approximately 462 gallons. Poorly maintained vehicles are less efficient and use more fuel. To maintain fuel efficiency for your car, AAA recommends checking the owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule, and keep the following in mind:

  • Perform required maintenance as specified. Keeping tires properly inflated, moving components adequately lubricated, and ignition and emission systems in good operating condition will help ensure maximum fuel efficiency and extend the life of your vehicle.
  • Change engine oil at the intervals indicated by the in-car maintenance reminder system or factory schedule. Use an “energy-conserving” oil that meets the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Keep tires inflated at the proper pressure. Use the figures on the tire information decal on the driver’s door jamb — not the one molded into the tire’s sidewall. Under-inflated tires reduce fuel economy and can be a safety hazard.
  • Check the engine air filter at every oil change. A dirty filter won’t affect fuel economy on a modern fuel-injected car, but it will reduce engine performance.
  • Engine spark plugs must be in good condition. Some types last for 100,000 miles, but others need to be replaced more often.

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.

Demand at All-Time High, Slowing Pump Price Decreases

August 19th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Summer may be ending, but gasoline demand is soaring to new heights. In its latest reading (for the week ending Aug. 9), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) recorded demand at 9.93 million b/d, the highest since the agency began recording data in 1991. As demand jumped, gasoline stocks fell by 1.4 million bbl and pump prices slowed their decline on the week.

“Pump prices continue to trend cheaper for most motorists across the country, though the rate at which they are declining slowed in the last week with a handful of states only seeing a nickel decline at the most,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Demand recorded at a surprising all-time high, but it is expected to drop in the coming weeks as summer comes to an unofficial end.”

Today’s national average is $2.61, which is three cents cheaper than last week, 17-cents less than a month ago and 22-cents cheaper than a year ago. Nearly half of all gas stations in the country are selling gas for $2.50 or less.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: North Carolina (-5 cents), Maryland (-5 cents), Georgia (-5 cents), Washington, D.C. (-5 cents), Texas (-5 cents), Missouri (-5 cents), South Carolina (-5 cents), Tennessee (-5 cents), New Jersey (-5 cents) and Virginia (-5 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.23), Mississippi ($2.24), South Carolina ($2.26), Alabama ($2.27), Arkansas ($2.29), Oklahoma ($2.30), Tennessee ($2.32), Texas ($2.33), Missouri ($2.34) and Kansas ($2.36).

South and Southeast

States in the South and Southeast carry among the cheapest gas prices in the country and some saw large declines on the week. Three state averages decreased by a nickel and land on the top10 list of states with the largest weekly decreases in the country: Georgia ($2.46), Texas ($2.33) and South Carolina ($2.26).

Motorists in the region are enjoying savings at the pump compared to last year at this time. Ten South and Southeast states have gas price averages that are a quarter or more less expensive: Louisiana (-37 cents), Florida (-35 cents), Mississippi (-31 cents), Oklahoma (-30 cents), Arkansas (-28 cents), South Carolina (-27 cents), Alabama (-27 cents), New Mexico (-27 cents), Texas (-27 cents) and Georgia (-26 cents).

The region’s refinery utilization rate (96%) and gasoline stock levels (84 million bbl) both held steady from the previous week according to the latest EIA data. Stock levels have been mostly increasing since mid-July and sit at a 4.2 million bbl surplus compared to this time last year. This likely means continued pump price decreases heading into September.

Great Lakes and Central States

The majority of motorists in the Great Lakes and Central states saw gas prices decrease on the week. However, Michigan (+6 cents) and Ohio (+2 cents) are the region’s and country’s outliers, being the only two states to see increases. This follows significant double-digit decreases each state saw the week prior: Ohio (-19 cents) and Michigan (-12 cents). However, this is not unordinary behavior in a region with high volatility.

All states in the region have gas price averages that are double-digits cheaper than a month ago. At a quarter or more cheaper, Illinois (-32 cents), Indiana (-26 cents) and Kentucky (-25 cents) tout the largest monthly decreases in the country.

Gasoline stocks remain at a healthy 50.1 million bbl. In the week ahead, gas prices may see little movement at the pump if gas stocks continue to hold steady. Regional refinery utilization remains strong with the EIA reporting a rate of 99% in their latest report. 

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, gas prices are as much as a nickel cheaper than last week. North Carolina ($2.43), Maryland ($2.53), Washington, D.C. ($2.77), Tennessee ($2.32), New Jersey ($2.68) and Virginia ($2.37) rank among the top 10 states with the largest weekly decreases in the county and all saw gas prices drop by a nickel.

At the start of the workweek, state gas price averages in the region range between $2.81 and $2.32.

Regional gasoline stocks saw a nearly half a million bbl build despite refinery utilization declining for a third straight week, down 4% to 70%, per EIA data. Gas prices are decreasing among stable stocks and utilization thanks to imports backfilling supply since the largest refinery on the East Coast will be shutting down in the near future.

Rockies

Gas prices in the Rockies saw modest movement  – three cents or less declines – at the pump since last Monday: Idaho (-3 cents), Montana (-3 cent), Utah (-3 cents), Colorado (-2 cents) and Wyoming (-2 cents).

Compared to a month ago, gas prices are cheaper in the region, but not as significantly cheaper as much of the country is seeing. With nine-cent monthly differences, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Utah rank among the top 10 states with the smallest monthly decrease.

EIA data reports regional refinery utilization dropped 5%. However, as the region was carrying a rate more than 100% in the past few weeks, this move only drops the current rate to 98.7%. Stocks dipped slightly (45,000 bbl) to now measure at 7.4 million bbl. Thanks to a summer of strong refinery runs, stocks sit close to a 1 million bbl surplus.

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are the highest in the nation, with most states in the region landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. Hawaii ($3.64) and California ($3.59) are the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.23), Nevada ($3.16), Oregon ($3.08) and Alaska ($3.03) follow. Arizona ($2.78) is the only state in the region to not be included in the list. Most state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with Nevada (-4 cents) seeing the largest decline.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on August 9 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks sit at 30.2 million bbl, falling by 1.5 million bbl from the previous week. The current level is approximately 100,000 bbl lower than last year at this time, which could cause prices to increase moderately if there is any disruption in supply or an increase in gas demand in the region this week.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 40 cents to settle at $54.87. Crude prices rose at the end of last week after sustaining heavy losses for two days. The losses came as a result of continued market worries about crude demand slumping this fall as a result of the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China, the world’s two largest oil consuming countries. If the trade dispute continues this week, crude prices may see further declines.

Additionally, last week OPEC trimmed its global oil demand forecast, citing a slowing economy. OPEC now calculates that this year’s crude demand growth will hit 1.1 million b/d on a year-over-year basis. The new rate reflects a slight dip of 40,000 b/d due to a slowdown in global demand trends in the first half of 2019.

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.

Domestic Gasoline Stocks Soar, Push Down Gas Prices

August 12th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

The national gas price average, $2.64, represents a seven-cent drop on the week as domestic gasoline stocks built by a surprising 4.4 million bbl, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest data. Contributing to the build was at least 1.2 million b/d of imports at U.S. ports. With the large bump, stocks now sit 235 million bbl – a U.S. stock level not seen in nearly five months (end of March).

 “On the week, nearly half of all states saw gas price averages decrease by at least a nickel,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “While gasoline demand increased week-over-week, it wasn’t enough to stay on pace with the huge jump in gasoline stocks. Therefore, pump prices continue to decline across the country.”

Today’s national gas price average is 13-cents less than a month ago and 21-cents cheaper than a year ago. 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Ohio (-19 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Illinois (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Florida (-7 cents), Oklahoma (-7 cents), Louisiana (-6 cents), Missouri (-6 cents) and Georgia (-6 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.27), Mississippi ($2.28), South Carolina ($2.31), Alabama ($2.31), Arkansas ($2.32), Oklahoma ($2.34), Tennessee ($2.37), Texas ($2.38), Missouri ($2.39) and Kansas ($2.41).

Great Lakes and Central States

Motorists in five Great Lakes and Central states saw significant – double-digit – declines at the pump this week: Ohio (-19 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Illinois (-12 cents), Michigan (-12 cents) and Kentucky (-10 cents). These states not only lead the top 10 list for weekly declines in the country, but also lead the largest monthly decline with savings as much as a quarter since this time in July: Illinois (-33 cents), Michigan (-32 cents), Ohio (-29 cents), Indiana (-30 cents) and Kentucky (-24 cents).

While all states in the region saw declines at the pump, they were not all significant. South Dakota saw the smallest decrease of just a penny. Gas prices in the region range from $2.79 in Illinois to $2.39 in Missouri.

Gas prices declined as gasoline stocks in the region jumped by 1.1 million bbl to bring total levels to 50 million bbl. The increase in stocks was supported by a 5% increase in regional refinery utilization, which was reported at 100% by the EIA. The Great Lakes and Central states are well-known for weekly volatility. While this week is starting with significant savings for much of the region, there is the potential for this coming week to bring increases.

South and Southeast

State gas price averages are 4 to 7 cents cheaper on the week across the South and Southeast region. Florida (-7 cents), Oklahoma (-7 cents), Louisiana (-6 cents) and Georgia (-6 cents) land on the top 10 list of largest weekly changes. Though, Texas and South Carolina also saw their state average decline six-cents on the week.

The latest weekly declines continue to position the South and Southeast as the region with the cheapest gas, with 7 of the 10 least expensive averages in the country: Louisiana ($2.27), Mississippi ($2.28), South Carolina ($2.31), Alabama ($2.31), Arkansas ($2.32), Oklahoma ($2.34) and Texas ($2.38).

The region saw a nearly 1 million bbl increase in gasoline stocks on the week and refinery utilization jumped 3.2%. At 84.7 million bbl, regional stocks now sit at their highest level since the end of May. Should stock levels and utilization remain at these high levels, motorists in the region can only expect to see gas prices continue to decline.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

New York ($2.84), Connecticut ($2.83), Washington, D.C. ($2.82) and Pennsylvania ($2.82) rank as the 9th – 12th most expensive gas price averages in the country. All Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states saw gas price averages decline on the week. However, pump price drops have been moderate (an average of four-cents) in comparison to other regions with double-digit weekly changes.

Regional gas prices are likely to continue decreasing, considering gasoline stocks rose by nearly 2 million bbl on the week. According to EIA reports, this was the largest build of any region. Much of the increase can be attributed to imports as regional refinery utilization saw a drop (2%) on the week.

Rockies

Gas prices are trending cheaper or stable after the prior week brought increases for a few states in the Rockies region. Colorado (-5 cents) saw the largest weekly decline, followed by Idaho and Montana – each with a two 2 cent drop – and Wyoming (-1 cent). Utah’s average remained stable at $2.91.

Year-over-year, most motorists in the region are seeing savings of at least 20 cents/gallon: Idaho (-34 cents), Colorado (-23 cents), Wyoming (-22 cents) and Utah (-21 cents). In Montana, gas prices are 16-cents cheaper compared to this time last year.

In the Rockies, regional refinery utilization sits at 103%. While this is the highest utilization in the country, the region carries the smallest stock level: 7.5 million bbl, according to EIA data. Motorists are likely to see gas prices continue to trend cheaper through August.

West Coast

Motorists in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the nation, with most states in the region landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. Hawaii ($3.64) and California ($3.62) are the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.25), Nevada ($3.20), Oregon ($3.10) and Alaska ($3.06) follow. Arizona ($2.77) is the only state in the region to fall off the list. Most state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with California (-5 cents) seeing the largest decline.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on August 2 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks sit at 31.7 million bbl, growing by approximately 500,000 bbl from the previous week. The current level is nearly 1.3 million bbl higher than last year at this time, which could help prices stabilize if there is any disruption in supply or an increase in gas demand in the region this week.

 Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by a $1.96 to settle at $54.50. Crude prices increased last week after reports emerged that OPEC is considering additional crude production cuts. In July, the cartel announced that it and its partners would extend the 1.2 million b/d crude production reduction agreement for an additional nine months. More details about the potential production cuts will likely be discussed at OPEC’s next meeting on December 5-6 in Vienna. Crude prices could increase this week amid further indications that global crude supply will tighten this fall.

The increase in crude prices last week occurred despite the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealing that global oil demand from May 2018 to January 2019 grew at its slowest rate since 2008. As a result, IEA reduced its global crude demand growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020 to 1.1 million and 1.3 million bpd respectively.

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.

 

On the week, the average national gas price dropped by two cents to $2.71. This is less expensive than a week, a month (-4 cent) and a year (-15 cents) ago. Prices are cheaper as demand saw a small dip on the week, even though overall demand remains robust for the summer. 

“While gas prices continue to drop, the rate at which they are decreasing has slowed,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “On the week, most states saw cheaper pump prices of only a few pennies and motorists can expect this trend to continue into early August.”

Today, motorists can find gas for $2.75 or less at 65% of gas stations across the country. 

Quick Stats

• The nation’s top 10 largest monthly decreases are: Florida (-17 cents), Alaska (-17 cents), Michigan (-14 cents), Illinois (-13 cents), Delaware (-12 cents), California (-10 cents), Kentucky (-9 cents), Arizona (-9 cents), Colorado (-9 cents) and Idaho (-9 cents).

• The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.33), Mississippi ($2.33), Alabama ($2.35), Arkansas ($2.37), South Carolina ($2.37), Oklahoma ($2.41), Tennessee ($2.43), Texas ($2.44), Missouri ($2.45) and Kansas ($2.46).

South and Southeast

Motorists in the South and Southeast saw some of the largest declines at the pump and all states in the region have cheaper gas prices on the week. In fact, four states land on the top 10 list of largest weekly changes: Florida (-7 cents), Georgia (-4 cents), Texas (-4 cents) and South Carolina (-3 cents). This is the second week in a row that Florida and South Carolina have appeared on the top 10 weekly changes list.

In the region, motorists are seeing savings year-over-year ranging from 19 to 28 cents cheaper. Those savings are likely to only increase as gas prices push less expensive moving into August.

Regional refinery utilization jumped to 93.5% and gasoline stocks saw a 857,000 bbl build, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data for the week ending Jul. 26. This was the only region in the country to see stocks increase for the EIA’s latest reporting period. Total stocks measure at 83.8 million bbl which is a 5.5 million bbl surplus compared to levels at the end of July. The region’s strong measurement of gasoline stocks is helping to push gas prices cheaper and this trend should continue as August typically yields high regional utilization and stock levels for the region.

Great Lakes and Central States

Ohio (+4 cents) and Indiana (+1 cent) were two of only five states in the country to see gas prices increase on the week. All other states in the Great Lakes and Central states region saw prices decrease on the week with Michigan (-10 cents) and Illinois (-9 cents) seeing the largest declines in the region and the country.

Pump prices are also trending cheaper compared to one month ago, with motorists in Michigan (-14 cents) seeing the largest monthly decrease in the region. Other Great Lakes and Central states with large month-over-month changes: Illinois (-13 cents), Kentucky (+9 cents) and Indiana (-6 cents). North Dakota (+6 cents) is this only state in the region with more expensive gas prices compared to a month ago.

For a second week, gasoline inventories dipped, and the draw was substantial at nearly one million bbl. The EIA also reports regional utilization declined from 99% to 95%. While pump prices pushed cheaper on the week, the lower stock and utilization levels could yield some price fluctuation in the week ahead.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are as much as three cents cheaper on the week for motorists in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, though a small number of states – fewer than five – saw prices remain stable on the week. Tennessee saw the largest decline.

The region is one of two with states on both the top 10 most and least expensive averages list in the country this week. At $2.88, Washington, D.C. ranks as the 10th most expensive and Tennessee ($2.43) ranks as the 7th least expensive state average.

The EIA reports gasoline stocks held on the week at the 59 million bbl mark while regional refinery utilization fell a percentage point to 76%. Analysts anticipate gasoline stocks to increase in August due to gasoline imports, which would assist in keeping gas prices cheaper in the coming weeks.

Rockies

For the first time in a few months, motorists in Utah (+6 cents), Wyoming (+2 cents) and Montana (+1 cent) are paying more to fill-up. Meanwhile, Colorado (-2 cents) and Idaho (-1 cent) have slightly cheaper gas prices. With the price fluctuations, Utah ($2.91) and Idaho ($2.89) rank, respectively, as the eight and ninth most expensive gas averages in the country this week.

Regional refinery utilization remains above 100% for a second week while gasoline stocks saw a small draw to drop totals to 7.4 million bbl. This poises the region for cheaper gas prices, especially as demand is likely to drop along with the end of peak tourism season in the region.

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are the highest in the nation, with most states in the region landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. California ($3.67) and Hawaii ($3.64) are the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.28), Nevada ($3.23), Oregon ($3.13) and Alaska ($3.08) follow. Arizona ($2.77) is the only state in the region to fall off the list. Most state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with Alaska (-5 cents) seeing the largest decline.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on July 26 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks sit at 32.3 million bbl, growing by approximately 300,000 bbl from the previous week. The current level is nearly 150,000 bbl higher than last year at this time, which could help prices stabilize if there is any disruption in supply or gas demand increases in the region this week.

 Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by $1.71 to settle at $55.66. Crude prices mostly decreased last week after President Trump announced new tariffs on imports from China, furthering a trade war between the world’s two largest economies and oil consumers. Market observers are concerned that increasing tariff costs will likely reduce global demand for crude oil. If the trade tensions between the countries continue to increase this week, crude prices will likely decline further.

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 Push Cheaper for a Another Week

July 29th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Today’s national average is $2.73. While this is two cents more expensive than on the same day last month, it is three cents cheaper than last week and 12-cents less expensive than a year ago.

“Gas prices this month are on average a dime less expensive than in July 2018. These less expensive gas prices have encouraged summer road trips as evidenced by robust demand numbers since May,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Right now, pump prices are poised to push even cheaper going into August.”

On the week, every state but Michigan saw gas prices trend less expensive. The majority of the top 10 states with the largest weekly declines saw gas prices move a nickel cheaper since last Monday.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Florida (-9 cents), Kentucky (-8 cents), Missouri (-5 cents), Iowa (-5 cents), Delaware (-5 cents), Kansas (-5 cents), South Carolina (-5 cents), Tennessee (-5 cents), Alaska (-5 cents) and Louisiana (-4 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.35), Louisiana ($2.36), Alabama ($2.38), Arkansas ($2.39), South Carolina ($2.40), Oklahoma ($2.42), Tennessee ($2.46), Texas ($2.48), Virginia ($2.48) and Kansas ($2.48).

South and Southeast

Gas prices are pushing cheaper across the South and Southeast. On the week, state averages are three to nine cents less: Florida (-9 cents) is seeing the largest decline followed by South Carolina (-5 cents) and Louisiana (-4 cents). These three states land on the top 10 list for the largest weekly decreases in the country.

New Mexico ($2.56) is the only state in the South and Southeast region to see cheaper gas prices on the week (-3 cents), month (-3 cents) and year (-18 cents). All other states in the region have cheaper averages on the week and the year. On the month, gas prices are as much as eight cents more expensive in these other states.

Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released last week shows that regional refinery utilization dropped for a second week, now down to 91%. Stocks dipped along with utilization, but overall levels remain close to the 83 million bbl mark. If utilization and stock levels continue to decline, the region could be poised to see some fluctuation in prices at the pump next month, especially as summer travel begins to slow and the school year begins.

 Great Lakes and Central States

With a four-cent increase, Michigan ($2.84) is the only state in the country to see gas prices increase on the week. In fact, four Great Lakes and Central states land on the top 10 list for largest weekly decreases in the country: Kentucky (-8 cents), Missouri (-5 cents), Iowa (-5 cents) and Kansas (-5 cents). In the region, gas prices range from $3.00 to $2.48.

Gas prices are declining as the region sees gasoline inventories remain robust at 50 million bbl and regional refinery utilization jumps to 99% – one of the highest rates in the country, per EIA data. While the region often sees volatility from week-to-week, should stock levels and utilization remain high, motorists can expect cheaper or stable gas prices in August.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, gas prices are cheaper or stable on the week. With a nickel decrease, both Delaware ($2.49) and Tennessee ($2.46) saw the largest pump price declines.

This week, Delaware holds the title for the state with not only the largest weekly decrease in the region but the largest year-over-year decline (-26 cents) and monthly change (-8 cents) too.

Gasoline stocks saw a build of just under a half a million bbl as regional refinery utilization jumped from 69% to 77%. The increasing utilization numbers are positive considering the recent fire and pending subsequent closure of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery in Philadelphia, which was the largest refinery on the East Coast. If utilization continues this positive trend, gas prices would likely follow suit pushing cheaper. However, August can tend to see higher volumes in terms of miles traveled in the region, which could cause some moderate spikes throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states next month. 

Rockies

Idaho ($2.90), Utah ($2.85) and Montana ($2.79) rank among the top 15 most expensive state gas price averages in the country, despite consistent weekly declines this summer. On the week, prices pushed cheaper for all states by one to three cents. Colorado ($2.64) and Wyoming ($2.72) saw the largest drop at the pump. 

While the majority of motorists in the country are not seeing cheaper gas prices month-over-month, that is not the case in the Rockies. Motorists are seeing mostly significantly less expensive prices compared to end of June: Utah (-14 cents), (Idaho (-11 cents), Colorado (-8 cents) and Wyoming (-7 cents). Motorists in Montana are only seeing a penny difference.

Regional refinery utilization blew past the 100% mark to hit 103%, according to the latest EIA report. With the latest build, gasoline stocks sit at 7.5 million bbl. This combination will continue to push prices cheaper for the region.

West Coast

Motorists in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the nation, with most states in the region landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. California ($3.69) and Hawaii ($3.64) are the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.29), Nevada ($3.25), Alaska ($3.13) and Oregon ($3.15) follow. Arizona ($2.78) is the only state in the region to fall off the list. Most state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with Alaska (-5 cents) seeing the largest decline.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on July 19 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks sit at 32 million bbl, remaining unchanged from the previous week. The current level is almost 1.5 million bbl higher than last year at this time, which could help prices stabilize if there is any disruption in supply or gas demand increases in the region this week.

 Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 18 cents to settle at $56.20. Crude prices mostly increased last week after EIA’s weekly report showed that total domestic crude inventories fell by 10.8 million bbl. With OPEC continuing to reduce crude production, tighter domestic crude supplies could cause prices to continue to increase if demand tightens. Unresolved tension in the Middle East also contributed to price increases last week. Iran has not released the U.K.-flagged oil tanker it captured in the Strait of Hormuz. In response, the British Royal Navy announced that it would escort U.K.-flagged vessels in the region to protect against future attacks. If tensions continue to mount this week, crude prices will likely continue their ascent.

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.

 

Price Increases at the Pump Slowing Across the Country

July 22nd, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

On the week, all but eight states saw gas price averages push cheaper or remain stable. At $2.76, the national gas price average is three cents less expensive than last Monday. This is the first time in four weeks that the national average has seen a weekly decline.

“Gasoline stocks remain robust amid a recent dip in demand, which could be one reason we are seeing pump prices starting to roll back,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “It is too soon to know if this is a long-term trend, but it is certainly a welcome relief for motorists.”

Today’s average is a dime more expensive than a month ago, but eight cents cheaper than a year ago.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Indiana (-15 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Illinois (-12 cents), Ohio (-11 cents), Kentucky (-5 cents), Delaware (-5 cents), Florida (+4 cents), West Virginia (+4 cents), Nebraska (-4 cents) and California (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.39), Louisiana ($2.41), Alabama ($2.41), Arkansas ($2.43), South Carolina ($2.46), Oklahoma ($2.48), Tennessee ($2.52), Virginia ($2.52), Texas ($2.53) and Kansas ($2.54).

Great Lakes and Central States

Regional volatility continues to be a theme among the Great Lakes and Central States despite strong regional refinery utilization and strong gasoline stocks. On the week, Indiana (-15 cents), Michigan (-12 cents), Illinois (-12 cents) and Ohio (-11 cents) rank as the top four states in the country with the largest declines at the pump and the only to see double-digit dips. Kentucky (-5 cents) and Nebraska (-4 cents) round out the top 10 largest weekly changes list in the region. While the past seven days brought mostly declines or stability at the pump for the majority of the region, two states saw slight price jumps: North Dakota (+2 cents) and Kansas (+1 cents).

For a third week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports regional refinery utilization at 97% and a small build – 328,000 bbl – in gasoline stocks. Total stocks measure at 50 million bbl, which is about 2.2 million bbl below levels a year ago. This year-over-year deficit could be contributing to some of the fluctuation in pump prices across the region. However, the overall stock level is strong and keeping most fluctuation moderate.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

States in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region saw pump prices push cheaper or more expensive by as much as a nickel. Two states land on the top 10 list for largest weekly changes: Delaware (-5 cents) and West Virginia (+4 cents).

While two states in the region land on the top 10 most expensive list – Pennsylvania ($2.92) and Connecticut ($2.89) – all state averages are under $3/gallon. While all state averages are cheaper than a year ago they are also more expensive – by as much as 17 cents – than a month ago.

The latest EIA data reports regional refinery utilization at a steady 69%, and despite the low utilization, stocks built by a little more than 250,000 bbl bringing levels to 59.5 million bbl. The last two weeks of gasoline stock builds, though small, are helping to keep gas prices mostly stable in the region.  

 

South and Southeast

Florida (+4 cents) and Texas (+2 cents) were the only states in the region to see jumps at the pump this week. All other states in the South and Southeast region saw pump prices trend cheaper by as much as three cents or remain stable.

Gas prices in the region rank among the top 21 cheapest in the country, with state averages ranging from $2.38 to $2.66. Within the region, motorists can find gas for $2.50 or less at 90% or more of gas stations in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Despite Hurricane Barry closing down some operations the week prior, the region added 2 million bbl of gasoline stocks to total 83.8 million bbl. EIA data also shows that regional refinery utilization dropped by a percentage point to 95%. The strong utilization and stock levels poise the region to see gas prices potentially decrease further at the pump in the coming week.

Rockies

State gas prices in the Rockies are cheaper or stable on the week, month and year with the exception of Montana. At 99%, the region holds the strongest refinery utilization rate in the country. This high rate combined with gasoline stocks at 7.4 million bbl continue to yield cheaper gas prices week-after-week for motorists in the region.

State Weekly Change Monthly Change Yearly Change
Utah ($2.87) -3 cents -18 cents -14 cents
Idaho ($2.92) -2 cents -14 cents -20 cents
Colorado ($2.67) -2 cents -7 cents -14 cents
Wyoming ($2.75) No change -6 cents -20 cents
Montana ($2.80) +1 cent -2 cents -13 cents

 

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are the highest in the nation, with most states in the region landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. California ($3.71) and Hawaii ($3.65) are the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.31), Nevada ($3.27), Alaska ($3.18) and Oregon ($3.17) follow. Arizona ($2.80) is the only state in the region to fall off the list. Most state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with California, Arizona, Alaska and Oregon seeing the largest declines at three cents each.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on July 12 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks grew by approximately 1 million bbl from the previous week and sit at 32 million bbl. The current level is almost 2 million bbl higher than last year at this time, which could help prices stabilize if there is any disruption in supply or gas demand surges in the region this week.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 33 cents to settle at $55.63. Crude prices mostly declined last week after the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that it does not expect oil prices to rise significantly because demand is slowing and there is a glut in global crude markets. The IEA is reducing its 2019 oil demand growth forecast to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.2 million bpd due to a slowing global economy amid the continuing U.S.-China trade dispute. Concerns over the current excess of oil in the crude market overshadowed concerns of increasing tension in the Middle East, following the United States announcing on Thursday that a U.S. Navy ship had “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. However, Iran captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the region late on Friday, dramatically escalating tensions. If tension continues to mount, oil prices could spike this week in response to concerns that global supply flows may be disrupted.

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.

National Gas Price Average Jumps Eight Cents in Two Weeks

July 15th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

The national gas price average is $2.79, which is an eight-cent increase since the beginning of July. Gas prices have increased amid more expensive crude oil prices, robust demand and decreasing gasoline stocks.

Since last Monday, 18 states have seen their gas price averages increase by at least a nickel. Hurricane Barry, which made landfall in Louisiana this past weekend, seems to have had little impact on the national average.

“Gas prices continue to increase for the majority of motorists east of the Mississippi,  while those filling up in the West Coast and Rockies regions are seeing a bit of a reprieve at the pump,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “While the national average is up, only seven states have gas price averages of $3/gallon or more. And notably, compared to the same time last year, the average is still eight cents cheaper.”

Today’s average is four cents more than last week and a dime more expensive compared to a month ago.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.40), Alabama ($2.42), Louisiana ($2.43), Arkansas ($2.43), South Carolina ($2.48), Oklahoma ($2.50), Texas ($2.50), Virginia ($2.51), Kansas ($2.52) and Tennessee ($2.53).
  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Indiana (+15 cents), Illinois (+14 cents), Missouri (+10 cents), Ohio (+10 cents), Oklahoma (+9 cents), Michigan (+8 cents), Kentucky (+8 cents), Nebraska (+7 cents), South Carolina (+7 cents) and Georgia (+7 cents).

Great Lakes and Central States

Seven of the top 10 states with the largest weekly increase in the country hail from the Great Lakes and Central states region: Indiana (+15 cents), Illinois (+14 cents), Missouri (+10 cents), Ohio (+10 cents), Michigan (+8 cents cents), Kentucky (+8 cents) and Nebraska (+7 cents). Among all states in the region, Kansas (+3 cents) saw the smallest jump in gas prices.

As regional refinery utilization holds strong at 97%, gasoline stocks stay intact at 49 million bbl, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. This has helped to keep gas price increases moderate (less than a nickel) for most of the region, which is accustomed to volatility throughout the year.

 South and Southeast

Gas prices jumped nearly a dime in the region with motorists in Oklahoma (+9 cents), South Carolina (+7 cents) and Georgia (+7 cents) seeing the largest increase. Meanwhile, Florida (-4 cents) was one of the only states east of the Mississippi to see gas prices decrease.   

Hurricane Barry had minimal impact on gas prices in the region. Louisiana’s state average increased only four-cents on the week, which is not atypical following a storm. The one refinery Barry forced to shut down is now in the restart process and other refineries that were in the storm’s path report few, if any, impacts on operations.

In EIA’s latest data, regional refinery utilization inches closer to 97%. Stocks took a significant 3 million bbl draw on the week. That drops total stocks to 81 million bbl, which is a low not seen in the region in eight weeks. This news, combined with Barry’s impact on regional rigs, means that another draw could be likely in the EIA’s next weekly reports and pump prices are likely to see fluctuations through the end of the month.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

States in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region are experiencing some of the lowest volatility in gas prices in the country, which may seem surprising considering the low utilization rates and gasoline stock levels. On the week, the majority of states saw gas price increases of three cents or less. The outliers were: Tennessee (+7 cents), Washington, D.C. (+5 cents), Virginia (+4 cents) and Connecticut (+4 cents). Surprisingly, Delaware saw a decrease, albeit it a penny.

Regional refinery utilization is now down to 69%. However, the EIA reports the region saw a build of 714,000 bbl in gasoline stocks to total levels at 59.2 million bbl. The build was a surprise, but good news for the region and will help to keep gas price volatility in check.

Rockies

With a four-cent price drop, Utah saw one of the largest decreases in the country on the week. Other states in the region saw pump price decreases of a few pennies, which keeps gas price averages all under $3/gal: Idaho ($2.94), Utah ($2.70) Montana ($2.79), Wyoming ($2.75) and Colorado ($2.69).

The region holds one of the strongest refinery utilization rates (97%) in the country which is helping to push prices cheaper this summer. On the week, gasoline stocks saw a small draw of 200,000 bbl to lower total stocks to 7.4 million bbl, per EIA data. Motorists are likely to see gas prices continue to sell under $3/gal through the end of summer in the region.

West Coast

Motorists in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the nation, with most states in the region landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. California ($3.74) and Hawaii ($3.64) are the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.33), Nevada ($3.28), Alaska ($3.21) and Oregon ($3.20) follow. Arizona ($2.83) is the only state in the region to fall off the list. Of note, most state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with California and Arizona seeing the largest declines at two cents each.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on July 5 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks grew by approximately 500,000 bbl from the previous week and sit at 31 million bbl. The current level is about 200,000 bbl higher than last year at this time, which could help prices stabilize if there is any disruption in supply or gas demand surges in the region this week.

 Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by one cent to settle at $60.21. Crude prices increased last week as the market continues to worry about tensions in the Middle East, which could restrict global oil supply. If those concerns continue into this week, crude prices will likely continue to increase. Additionally, Hurricane Barry, temporarily halted 60 percent of all crude production in the Gulf of Mexico last week. As the storm subsides and floodwaters diminish, crude production will resume. As a result, crude stocks may tighten in the region and could cause prices to increase modestly.

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.

Summer Gas Prices Heating Up Across the Country

July 8th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Gas prices are heating up alongside summer temperatures. In the last 15 days, state averages have jumped, pushing up the national average nearly a dime to $2.75. In addition to rising gasoline demand, 13 states this month have introduced new gas taxes that have contributed to the national average increase. Those states include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont.

“The only motorists seeing relief at the pump are in a handful of states in the West Coast and Rockies regions where prices are trending cheaper, but still rank among the most expensive in the country,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The majority of motorists can expect more expensive gas prices throughout July, but the national average is still not likely to hit $3/gallon.”

Today’s average is four cents more than last week, but less than one cent cheaper than last month and 11 cents less expensive than a year ago.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Illinois (+14 cents), Florida (+13 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Georgia (+6 cents), Alabama (+6 cents), Indiana (+5 cents), Texas (+5 cents), Maryland (+5 cents) and Tennessee (+5 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.34), Arkansas ($2.36), Louisiana ($2.38), Alabama ($2.39), South Carolina ($2.41), Oklahoma ($2.41), Missouri ($2.46), Tennessee ($2.46), Texas ($2.47) and Virginia ($2.47).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Despite very low regional refinery utilization, the majority of states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast saw gas prices increase no more than a nickel on the week. In Pennsylvania, the state’s gas price average dropped less than a penny on the week. This is a bit counterintuitive considering the Philadelphia Energy Solution (PES) refinery, the largest refinery on the East Coast, is scheduled to close this month. However, with a state average of $2.91, Pennsylvania ranks as the 10th most expensive average in the country.  

On the week, Maryland (+5 cents) and Tennessee (+5 cents) saw the largest increases at the pump in the region.

With the PES refinery moving towards closure, regional refinery utilization dropped to 73% and gasoline stocks drew by 2.3 million bbl. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) measures total regional gasoline stocks at 58.5 million bbl, an atypical level for this time of year and a low not seen since December 2017.

According to the EIA, the closure of the Philadelphia refinery would decrease the number of operating East Coast refineries to seven and would reduce (East Coast) gasoline supplies by approximately 160,000 b/d. Gas prices are likely to continue to increase for motorists in the region as retailers look to other options to make up for the deficit caused by the upcoming PES closure.

Great Lakes and Central States

Pump prices are pushing more expensive across the Great Lakes and Central states. Illinois (+14 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Michigan (+7 cents) and Indiana (+5 cents) rank among the top 10 states with the largest weekly increases. Illinois tops the nationwide chart. Part of the increase can be attributed to new gas taxes that went into effect on July 4 in each of these states.

With the latest jumps, Illinois (+8 cents year over year) is one of only three states in the country to have more expensive gas prices than at the same time last year. Compared to a month ago, Ohio (+13 cents), Illinois (+11 cents) and Michigan (+8 cents) are among states nationwide with more expensive pump prices.

Regional refinery utilization jumped from 93% to 97% according to EIA’s data for the week ending June 28. However, gasoline stocks held at 49.2 million bbl. Should utilization continue to hold strong, it could help to balance stock levels and keep any future gas price fluctuations moderate.

Rockies

Motorists across the Rockies continue to pay less to fill-up at the pump. On the week, pump prices declined between one to four cents across the five states in the region. While the prices motorists are paying are still among the most expensive in the country, they are under $3/gallon: Idaho ($2.97), Utah ($2.94), Montana ($2.79) Wyoming ($2.76) and Colorado ($2.70). Idaho and Utah rank as the eighth and ninth, respectively, most expensive state averages in the country.

Refinery utilization and gasoline stocks remain at strong levels. Stocks had a small add to bump up to 7.6 million bbl, per EIA data. Motorists are likely to see gas prices continue to decrease amid strong utilization and healthy stock levels.

South and Southeast

In the region, four states saw gas prices jump by at least a nickel on the week: Florida (+13 cents), Georgia (+6 cents), Alabama (+6 cents) and Texas (+5 cents).

Notably, all regional state averages are cheaper year-over-year. New Mexico (+25 cents) and Arkansas (+24 cents) have the largest yearly change.

With the latest add, gasoline inventories measure at 84.6 million bbl as regional refinery utilization sits at 95% for the week ending June 28, per EIA data. Stocks could draw in coming weeks should the region be tapped to help make up for the declining stocks in the Northeast due to the pending shutdown of the PES refinery. However, pump prices would likely see only moderate fluctuations.

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are the highest in the nation, with most states in the region landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. California ($3.76) and Hawaii ($3.63) are the most expensive markets. Washington ($3.34), Nevada ($3.29), Alaska ($3.22) and Oregon ($3.21) follow. Arizona ($2.85) is the only state in the region to fall off the list. Of note, most state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with Alaska (-3 cents) seeing the largest decline. California’s state average is the only to increase, by a penny, last week.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on June 28 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks decreased slightly by approximately 200,000 bbl from the previous week and sit at 30.5 million bbl. The current level is similar to levels at this time last year, which could help prices stabilize if there is any disruption in supply or gas demand surges in the region this week.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 17 cents to settle at $57.51. Crude prices ended last week down from the previous week as global demand concerns continue to worry market observers as the U.S. and China continue to resolve their trade dispute. The fall in prices occurred despite EIA’s data showing that total domestic crude inventories fell by 1 million bbl to 468.5 million bbl. Moving into this week, if it appears that the U.S. and China are not closer to a trade resolution, crude prices could continue to decrease. However, if tension between the U.S. and Iran escalates, crude prices could surge amid market concerns of conflict in the Middle East, which could limit oil flows from the region.

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 Jump a Nickel Ahead of Independence Day Holiday

July 1st, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Following weeks of steady pump price declines, gas prices are starting to increase across the country. On the week, a gallon of regular unleaded is, on average, a nickel more expensive with nearly 25 states seeing an increase of a nickel or more since last Monday.

“For the more than 41 million motorists hitting the road this week to celebrate the Independence Day holiday, they will find gas prices cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, but more expensive than they’ve been paying the last few weeks,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “It’s typical to see increases at the pump ahead of the holiday, but we may see prices continue to jump throughout the month due to refinery interruptions on the East Coast, increasing demand and fluctuations in crude oil price.”

Factors driving up gas prices:

  • Crude oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was priced as low as $51.13 in mid-June, but has since jumped more than $8 to land as high as $59.43. Crude accounts for as much as 60% of the retail gasoline price.
  • Supply: The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports total U.S. stocks at 232 million bbl for the week ending June 21, which is the lowest June stock level seen since 2015.
  • Demand: Demand remains robust for peak summer driving season at a four-week average of 9.6 million b/d. EIA reports gasoline stocks drew down for a second week in its latest report. This trend isn’t likely to stop this week, especially with 41.4 million Americans expected to hit the road for the Independence Day holiday.
  • Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES): Last week, PES announced that they will permanently close the South Philadelphia refinery this month, which is the oldest and largest refinery on the East Coast. The announcement came following a June fire and explosion at the refinery, which produces 335,000 barrels of crude per day (42 U.S. gallons per barrel). While gasoline stocks from Canada, neighboring refineries, and the Colonial Pipeline will help backfill supply, retailers will likely face increased transportation costs which will drive up prices in the Northeast and surrounding regions.
  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): OPEC and its partners will meet today and tomorrow in Vienna and are likely to extend the current production reduction agreement of 1.2 million b/d through the end of the year, which could push crude oil prices more expensive.

Today’s national average is $2.71, which is a nickel more than last week, but 11 cents less than last month and 14 cents cheaper than a year ago.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: North Carolina (+13 cents), South Carolina (+13 cents), Indiana (+11 cents), Delaware (+11 cents), Florida (+11 cents), Georgia (+10 cents), Ohio (+9 cents), Maryland (+9 cents), Mississippi (+8 cents) and Michigan (+8 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.32), Alabama ($2.33), Louisiana ($2.34), Arkansas ($2.35), South Carolina ($2.37), Tennessee ($2.41), Missouri ($2.41), Texas ($2.42), Oklahoma ($2.42) and Virginia ($2.45).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Following the fire and subsequent announcement that the PES South Philadelphia refinery will close this month, Pennsylvania’s gas prices jumped seven cents on the week, but it was not the largest increase in the region. Gas price averages in North Carolina (+13 cents), Delaware (+11 cents) and Maryland (+9 cents) saw the largest weekly increases in the region and are among the top 10 increases in the country. While all states in the region saw prices increase, these four states saw prices increase a nickel or more in addition to the four previously mentioned: Tennessee (+6 cents), New Jersey (+6 cents), Maine (+6 cents) and New Hampshire (+5 cents). Gas prices are likely to continue to increase with the closure of PES.

Gas prices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast range from $2.91 in Pennsylvania to $2.41 in Tennessee. Given current conditions, it would not be surprising to see Pennsylvania’s average flirt with the $3/gallon mark in coming weeks. 

With regional refinery dropping to 84%, due to the fire at PES, it’s no surprise that regional gasoline stocks drew by 1.2 million in EIA’s data for the week ending June 21. Total stocks sit at 60.8 million bbl – the lowest June inventory recorded for the region since 2015. This is likely to tighten further and drive gas prices moderately more expensive for the bulk of the region this month.

Great Lakes and Central States

Gas prices are more expensive for every state in the Great Lakes and Central states with the exception of the Dakotas (-1 cent). Indiana (+11 cents), Ohio (+9 cents) and Michigan (+8 cents) saw among the top 10 largest increases in the country on the week. With close proximity to Pennsylvania, these three states’ increases are likely due to the upcoming closure of the PES facility.

In addition, Ohio could see further increases this week due to the gas tax increase of 10.5 percent per gallon going into effect today, Monday, July 1; though it is likely that gas stations had already started to increase retail gas prices, due to the new tax.

Regional gasoline stocks have consistently built since mid-May, according to EIA data. The latest add of 340,000 bbl pushes total stocks to 49.2 million bbl while regional refinery utilization fell slightly (2%) to 93%.Though gasoline stocks sit at a robust measurement, motorists are likely to see gas prices increase – though moderate for most of the region – in the coming weeks, in part due to the PES closure and increasing crude oil prices.

Rockies

Skewing from the rest of the country, gas price averages in the Rockies decreased on the week: Utah (-6 cent), Idaho (-5 cents), Colorado (-2 cents), Wyoming (-2 cents) and Montana (-1 cent).

With the latest declines, the region’s averages are all $3/gallon or less with Idaho at the $3 mark and Utah at $2.98. Motorists in these two states and Colorado are saving double-digits a gallon to fill-up compared to last month: Idaho (-19 cents), Utah (-18 cents) and Colorado (-16 cents).

With regional refinery remaining strong at 99% and robust gasoline stocks sitting at 7.5 million bbl, per EIA data, gas prices are not likely to increase in the near future. One outlier that could drive up prices, though moderately, would be crude oil prices, which make up nearly 60 percent of the retail price.

South and Southeast

The majority of South and Southeast states – eight – saw gas prices increase seven cents or more in the last week. South Carolina (+13 cents) saw the largest increase in the region and tied with North Carolina for the largest weekly increase in the country. Only Arkansas (+4 cents) and New Mexico (+3 cents) saw modest weekly increases. The region continues to remain home to the cheapest state averages in the country: Mississippi ($2.32), Alabama ($2.33), Louisiana ($2.34), Arkansas ($2.35) and South Carolina ($2.37).

Gasoline inventories built by 215,000 bbl, to total regional levels at 83.6 million bbl Though regional refinery utilization jumped to 96% for the week ending June 21, stocks are poised to potentially draw in the weeks ahead as the region is likely to be tapped to help provide supply to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to replace supply shortfall from the PES refinery. Motorists in the South and Southeast could, in turn, potentially see prices increase more this month.

West Coast

Motorists in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the nation, with all seven states landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. California ($3.75) and Hawaii ($3.63) are the most expensive markets. Washington ($3.35), Nevada ($3.31), Alaska ($3.25), Oregon ($3.22) and Arizona ($2.88) follow. Of note, most state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with Alaska (-5 cents) seeing the largest decline. California’s average held steady, but more increases could be on the way since the state’s new gas tax of 5.6 cents goes into effect today.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on June 21 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks decreased slightly by 200,000 bbl from the previous week and sit at 30.8 million bbl. The current level is similar to levels at this time last year, which could help prices stabilize if there is any disruption in supply or gas demand surges in the region this week.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped by 96 cents to settle at $58.47. Crude prices moved mostly higher last week following surprising new data from EIA that showed total domestic crude inventories took a surprisingly large draw of 12.8 million bbl last week. At 469.6 million bbl, crude inventories are almost 53 million bbl higher this year over last, but the dramatic decline has the market concerned that the global crude market is tightening.

Adding to those concerns, OPEC will likely announce this week that it and its partners, including Russia, will extend their 1.2 million b/d crude production reduction agreement for an additional six to nine months. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he had agreed with Saudi Arabia to extend existing output cuts until December 2019 or March 2020. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the deal would most likely be extended by nine months and no deeper reductions were needed. As crude prices climb due to the production cuts, American motorists should expect higher pump prices in the weeks ahead.

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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U.S. gasoline demand hit its highest level at 9.93 million b/d, for the week ending June 14. It is the highest level ever recorded since the Energy Information Administration (EIA) began publishing data in 1991. Counterintuitively, as motorists drive demand to new heights, pump prices pushed even cheaper across the country on the week. This is due to the recent trend in cheaper crude pricing and because crude comprises roughly 60% of the costs people pay at the pump, drivers are seeing summer savings. When compared to this time last year, domestic crude prices are cheaper by approximately $12 per barrel. Today’s national average is $2.66, which is two cents less than last week and 18 cents less than a month and year ago.

“Filling-up at the pump this summer could mean savings as much as a quarter a gallon,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Cheaper prices could entice motorists to travel more and even take some last minute road trips.”

At the end of last week, a massive fire took Philadelphia Energy Solution’s (PES) Philadelphia, the largest on the East Coast, offline, causing concern of what this could do to gas prices this summer. The incident will likely lead to reduced gasoline production at the refinery. However, gasoline from Canada, neighboring refineries, and the Colonial Pipeline are likely solutions to help backfill supply, meet demand and relieve any tightness in gasoline supplies as a result of reduced gasoline production at PES’ refinery and keep gas prices cheap throughout summer.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest monthly decreases are: Indiana (-30 cents), California (-26 cents), South Carolina (-24 cents), Michigan (-23 cents), Oklahoma (-21 cents), Arizona (-21 cents), Mississippi (-21 cents), Maryland(-21 cents), Nebraska (-21 cents) and Delaware (-20 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.24), South Carolina ($2.24), Alabama ($2.26), Louisiana ($2.26), Arkansas ($2.31), Oklahoma ($2.34), Tennessee ($2.35), Texas ($2.35), Missouri ($2.37) and Virginia ($2.40).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

On the week, state gas price averages are as much as three cents cheaper with Virginia, New Jersey, and Rhode Island seeing the largest declines. Following the fire at Philadelphia Energy Solution’s Philadelphia refinery on Friday, a few states have seen slight increases on the week, albeit less than a penny. This includes Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As the smoke continues to clear at the refinery, it would not be surprising to see gas prices in Pennsylvania and other surrounding states continue to inch up this week. Industry experts speculate that as much as 150,000 b/d will be lost, though for how long is unclear. The good news is that the price hikes are likely to be short-lived due to replacement gasoline supplies from neighboring refineries, imports and the Gulf Coast.

New York ($2.84) ranks as the 10th most expensive state average in the country. At the same price, Pennsylvania ranks 11th, followed by Connecticut ($2.82) as 12th.

For the week ending June 14, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports inventories fell for a second week, by 1.3 million bbl, to total 62.1 million bbl. With the PES facility at reduced levels combined with unplanned maintenance at United Refining’s Warren, Pennsylvania, we can expect gasoline stocks and regional refinery utilization to decline in upcoming EIA report’s reports with moderate impacts to gas prices in the region.

Great Lakes and Central States

After appearing on the top 10 largest weekly declines list last Monday, Michigan ($2.69) and Ohio’s ($2.55) gas price averages jumped seven and six cents respectively, and are the only states in the country to see average increase. All other Great Lakes and Central States saw gas prices decrease up to six cents on the week. State gas price averages in the region range from $2.44 to $2.80.

Gasoline stocks in the region saw a moderate increase, according to EIA data, bumping up to 48.9 million bbl as regional refinery utilization took a huge leap – up 6% to total 96%. Utilization in the Great Lakes and Central States has not been this high since early January of this year and will likely keep any price movements moderate for the majority of the region.

Rockies

On the week, motorists are paying on average four cents less to fill-up: Utah (-5 cents), Idaho (-4 cents), Colorado (-4 cents), Montana (-3 cents) and Wyoming (-1 cent). Compared to a year and month ago, regional gas prices are up to 14 cents cheaper.

Motorists in the Rockies can expect to see gas prices continue to fall in the coming weeks with regional refinery utilization at nearly 100%. To boot, gasoline stocks already sit an extremely healthy level for this time of year at 7.6 million bbl, according to EIA data.

South and Southeast

Motorists in the South and Southeast are saving the most at the pump compared to last year with nine state averages sitting at 25 cents to 34 cents less per gallon to fill-up. Oklahoma is the exception at 22-cents less year-over-year. One the week, pump prices continued to push less expensive, dropping between one to 6 cents. Florida (-6 cents) saw the largest drop while these six states saw averages decline by three cents since last Monday: Alabama ($2.26), Arkansas ($2.31), New Mexico ($2.56), South Carolina ($2.24) and Texas ($2.35).

Gasoline inventories drew by 1 million bbl on the week, landing total stocks at 83.4 million bbl, one of the largest stock levels of the year. Stocks have the potential to draw further in the weeks ahead as the region may be tapped to help provide supply to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast following last Friday’s fire at Philadelphia Energy Solution. However, this support is not likely to cause gas prices in the South and Southeast to increase.

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are the highest in the nation, with all seven states landing on the top 10 most expensive list today. California ($3.75) and Hawaii ($3.63) are the most expensive markets. Washington ($3.37), Nevada ($3.35), Alaska ($3.30), Oregon ($3.24) and Arizona ($2.92) follow. Of note, all state averages in the region have decreased on the week, with Alaska (-8 cents) and California (-6 cents) seeing the largest declines.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on June 14, showed that West Coast gasoline stocks increased slightly by 200,000 bbl from the previous week and sit at 31 million bbl. The current level is approximately 200,000 bbl more than last year’s level at this time, which could help suppress any price spikes if there is a supply disruption or gas demand surges in the region this week.

 Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 36 cents to settle at $57.43. Crude prices climbed as tension rises in the Middle East. On Friday, it was reported that the U.S. was very close to executing a military strike against Iran as a result of the White House’s belief that Iran was responsible for shooting down a U.S. drone in the region, as well as last week’s alleged attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. President Trump reportedly called off the strike minutes before it was to be engaged. Approximately 20% of global crude supplies flow through the Gulf of Oman. Moving into this week, if tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate, the market will likely continue pushing global crude prices higher due to increased market fears that a military standoff between Iran and the U.S. could limit global supply and access to crude.

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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