Posts Tagged ‘Crude’

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.

 

It’s Nearly Summer, But Pump Prices Are Dropping Fast

June 17th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

The national average dropped six cents on the week, following a consistent downward trend since Memorial Day. The decline is unusual for this time of year. Pump prices usually trickle higher during the summer months due to increased demand. However, the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report reveals that total domestic gasoline inventories jumped a million bbl last week, helping to push pump prices lower. According to OPIS, strong production output and increased imports have helped gasoline storage levels grow consistently over the past four weeks.

“Growing gasoline inventories are contributing to relief at the pump as we head into summer,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA Spokesperson. “Current U.S. inventories sit at nearly 235 million bbl, which is helping to feed growing demand.”

According to the latest EIA report, gasoline demand reached 9.877 million b/d last week – the 6th highest weekly count on record. Current demand levels are on par with volumes seen this same time last year (9.879 million b/d). Today’s national average is $2.68, which is six cents cheaper than last week, 17 cents less than last month and 20 cents less than the same time last year.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest monthly decreases are: Ohio (-29 cents), Michigan (-28 cents), Indiana (-26 cents), California (-23 cents), Mississippi (-21 cents), Kentucky (-21 cents), Illinois (-21 cents), Tennessee (-19 cents), North Carolina (-19 cents) and Oklahoma (-19 cents).

The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: California ($3.81), Hawaii ($3.64), Washington ($3.41), Nevada ($3.41), Alaska ($3.38), Oregon ($3.28), Idaho ($3.10), Utah ($3.09), Arizona ($2.97) and New York ($2.86).

Great Lakes and Central States

Gas prices dropped by 4 cents or more across most of the region, with Michigan (-12 cents), Illinois (-9 cents), Oklahoma (-9 cents) and Ohio (-7 cents) landing on the list of top 10 largest weekly declines.

Compared to last month, all motorists in the Great Lakes and Central states are seeing a cost savings at the pump. The states seeing the largest drops are: Ohio (-29 cents), Michigan (-28 cents), Indiana (-26 cents), Kentucky (-21 cents), Illinois (-20 cents), Tennessee (-19 cents) and Oklahoma (-19 cents).

On the week, regional gasoline inventories built by 200,000 bbl to register at 48.3 million bbl. Refinery production has also been strong in the region, with operating rates increasing 4% on the week to reach a total of 88%.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

While prices have dropped on the week, some states are still paying high prices at the pump. New York ($2.86), Connecticut ($2.85), Pennsylvania (2.84) and Washington D.C. ($2.80) all land on the top 15 list of most expensive prices in the country. Within the region, gas prices range from $2.86 in New York to $2.43 in Virginia. 

Last week, east coast gasoline inventories dropped 1.6 million bbl. United Refining also shut down its 70,000-b/d refinery in Warren, Pennsylvania, for unplanned maintenance. United reports that operations should return to normal within a week, however the downtime could impact supply in parts of southwestern New York and northwestern Pennsylvania.

Rockies

Prices have fallen across the region between 2 to 5 cents on the week. Despite the declines, Idaho ($3.10) and Utah (3.09) both land on the top 10 list of most expensive states in the country. At $2.78, Colorado carries the cheapest average in the region.

The latest EIA report shows that gasoline inventories in the region increased 5% to 7.6 million bbl. The increase can likely be attributed to strong production. The refinery utilization rate in the region hit 100% last week.

South and Southeast

Prices in the region continued to move down on the week. Drivers in the Southeast saw some of the largest regional discounts, with Florida (-9 cents), South Carolina (-8 cents) and North Carolina (-7 cents) all landing on the top 10 list of largest weekly declines. Texas (-31 cents), Mississippi (-31 cents), Louisiana (-31 cents), Georgia (-28 cents), Alabama (-28 cents) and Arkansas (-28 cents) all land on the list of top 10 largest yearly declines.

According to the latest EIA report, gasoline inventories in the gulf coast grew 1.7 million-bbl on the week.

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 ($3.81) and Hawaii ($3.64) are the most expensive markets. Washington ($3.41), Nevada ($3.41), Alaska ($3.38), Oregon ($3.28) and Arizona ($2.97) follow. Pump prices in the region have mostly decreased on the week, with Arizona (-6 cents) seeing the largest drop.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on June 7 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks increased slightly by 90,000 bbl from the previous week and sit at 30.8 million bbl. The current level is 700,000 bbl less than last year’s level at this time, which could cause prices to spike 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 23 cents to settle at $52.51. Crude prices increased late last week as a result of an attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. This attack heightened market fears that rising tensions could continue in the Middle East and negatively impact crude oil availability. Approximately 20% of global crude supplies flow through the waterway. The Trump Administration attributed the attack to Iran, however, the country denies the accusation. If tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate, the market will likely continue pushing global crude prices higher.

Before market fears increased, the price of crude hit its lowest point in six months last week. The drop in crude oil prices was supported by EIA revealing that total domestic crude inventories grew again by 2.2 million bbl and now sit at 485.5 million bbl. The current level is 53 million bbl higher than last year’s level at this time. An oversupply of crude has increased concerns that the market has a glut of oil – even as U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have worked to reduce global supply. Moreover, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reduced their global oil demand outlook for the remainder of 2019 to 1.14 million b/d – down 70,000 barrels b/d from OPEC’s previous demand forecast due to reduced global trade as a result of tensions between the U.S., China, and Mexico. At its upcoming meeting on June 25-26, the cartel and its partners are expected to extend the current agreement to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day through the end of 2019. Reduced global supply, amid robust demand, could increase crude prices in the latter half of the year.

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.

Nearly every state’s gas price average is cheaper than a week ago, a month ago and a year ago. Today’s national average is $2.74, which is seven-cents cheaper than last week, 13-cents less than a month ago and 18 cents cheaper than a year ago.

“Refinery utilization in the United States is at its highest level since early January, resulting in overall gasoline stocks at healthy levels to meet robust summer demand. Prices are dropping due to cheaper crude oil and at the same time U.S. supply is keeping pace with demand,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The national average is poised to fall to at least $2.70 this week – an indication that pump prices may be even cheaper this summer.”

For the last three weeks demand has remained relatively robust at 9.4 million b/d. Meanwhile, gasoline stocks have increased weekly with total inventories at nearly 4 million bbl ahead of the five-year average, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Ohio (-21 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Michigan (-15 cents), Illinois (-11 cents), Kentucky (-10 cents), Oklahoma (-9 cents), Maine (-8 cents), Wisconsin (-8 cents), Nebraska (-8 cents) and South Carolina (-7 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.32), Louisiana ($2.35), Alabama ($2.35), South Carolina ($2.36), Arkansas ($2.40), Texas ($2.41), Tennessee ($2.42), Oklahoma ($2.46), Missouri ($2.48) and Virginia ($2.49).  

Great Lakes and Central States

On the week, the top five states in the country with the largest declines hail from the Great Lakes and Central region: Ohio (-21 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Michigan (-15 cents), Illinois (-11 cents), and Kentucky (-10 cents). Joining these five to round out the top 10 list are Wisconsin and Nebraska with eight-cent declines at the pump. Gas prices are cheaper across the region and range from $2.89 in Illinois – which is the 13th most expensive state average in the country – to $2.49 in Missouri, which is the ninth cheapest state average in the country.

Gas prices dropped alongside a build in gasoline stocks. According to EIA data the region saw inventory build by 300,000 bbl to total 48.1 million bbl, which is below the five-year average of 50.8 million. Refinery utilization slid back a percent to 83% and is the lowest utilization rate for the week ending May 31 among all five regions in the country. Despite the deficit in stocks and low refinery utilization rate, gas prices are expected to remain stable; though during the summer, some states may see weekly spikes – declines or increases – due to the typical volatility in the region.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

A number of states from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast appear on the top 10 list for largest changes for the week, month and year:

  • Weekly: Maine (-8 cents)
  • Monthly: North Carolina (-17 cents), Tennessee (-16 cents) and Delaware (-16 cents)
  • Yearly: Delaware (-26 cents), Tennessee (-25 cents) and New Hampshire (-25 cents)

Driving through the region, motorists will find gas prices on average at $2.65 with the most expensive at $2.89 in Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. The cheapest price is $2.42 in Tennessee.

Gas price declines this week were supported by a sizeable build in gasoline stocks – nearly 1.9 million bbl, bumping total inventories to 65.1 million bbl. In addition, regional utilization pushed up for a second week to nearly 94%. These moves will help to keep gas prices stable, but more likely will push them cheaper in the month ahead.

Rockies

Gas prices are cheaper on the week across the Rockies with the region seeing among the smallest weekly changes in the country. Motorists in Wyoming ($2.85) saw no change at the pump, while those in Utah ($3.13), Colorado ($2.82), Montana ($2.87) and Idaho ($3.15) are paying 2 to 4 cents less a gallon to fill-up.

Compared to last month, gas prices are cheaper in Utah, Colorado and Idaho by as much as four cents. Conversely, they are more expensive only in Montana (+1 cent) and Wyoming (+8 cents).

The region is poised to see gas prices continue to decline. The EIA reports that regional refinery utilization is at 99% – the highest of any in the country. As utilization jumped so did stocks – by half a million bbl for the week ending May 31. Total stocks measure at 7.2 million bbl, which is a very healthy level compared to last summer, which mostly saw stocks hover at, but mostly below the 7-million bbl mark.

South and Southeast

Florida (+2 cents) was the only state in the region and country to see gas prices increase on the week. Meanwhile, seven South and Southeast states saw pump prices drop a nickel or more since last Monday: Oklahoma (-9 cents), South Carolina (-7 cents), Texas (-7 cents), Mississippi (-7 cents), Arkansas (-6 cents), Georgia (-6 cents) and New Mexico (-5 cents).

As the region continues to carry among the cheapest gas price averages in the country, every state’s average is cheaper by at least a dime compared to last month. The region also touts some of the largest monthly decreases in the country. Georgia (-18 cents), Texas (-17 cents), Louisiana (-15 cents), (Florida (-15 cents) and South Carolina (-15 cents) rank among the top 10 states with the biggest change in pump prices compared to last month.

As refinery utilization held steady on the week, regional stocks drew by 1.8 million bbl and dropped total stocks to 82.8 million bbl. While the draw was large, inventories sit ahead of this time last year and are the largest level for this time of year (early June) on record for the region, per EIA data. Motorists in the region can expect to see even cheaper gas prices throughout the summer.

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 ($3.88) and Hawaii ($3.64) are the most expensive markets. Washington ($3.46), Alaska ($3.44), Nevada ($3.45), Oregon ($3.33) and Arizona ($3.07) follow. Pump prices in the region have mostly decreased on the week, with Oregon (-7 cents) seeing the largest drop.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on May 31 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks increased by approximately 2.4 million bbl from the previous week and now sit at 30.8 million bbl. The current level is only 300,000 bbl less than last year’s level at this time, which could cause prices to decline further if there are no supply disruptions in the region this week.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by $1.40 to settle at $53.99. Crude prices increased on Friday after Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told an audience at a conference in Russia that OPEC and its partners are close to an agreement to extend their current 1.2-million b/d production reduction pact through the end of 2019. The cartel is expected to formally announce its decision at its upcoming meeting in Vienna on June 25 and 26.

The price increase followed a week of losses for crude due to EIA’s weekly petroleum status report showing that total domestic crude inventories rose by 6.8 million bbl last week. At 483.3 million bbl, the current level is 46.7 million bbl higher than last year’s level at this time. An oversupply of crude has increased concerns that the market has a glut of oil – even as U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have worked to reduce global supply. Market observers will await OPEC’s meeting to determine how much global crude supplies may tighten further. If the glut persists, crude prices will likely continue to descend.

In related news, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. lost 11 oilrigs last week, bringing the total of active rigs to 789. There are 73 fewer oilrigs now than at this time last year.

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.

 

AAA Forecasts Summer National Gas Price Average to Drop to $2.70

Price at which 50% of consumers consider gas price to be too high (2016 – 2019), per AAA’s Annual Gas Price
2016 2017 2018 2019
$2.50 $2.80 $2.70 $3.00

“For consumers today, paying more to fill-up their gas tank may feel less shocking due to the national average pushing within pennies of $3/gallon the last two spring seasons,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.  “However, there is good news for consumers this summer – the highest prices of the year could be in the rearview mirror. With most refineries operating at normal levels, demand at robust rates, and cheaper crude oil prices, summer gas prices are poised to be a little less than last year –dropping as much as a dime to lower the national average to $2.70.”

Even with Americans being more tolerant of higher gas prices, you can still expect 74% of Americans to make lifestyle changes to offset increased pump prices. Of those, nearly a quarter (24 percent) say $2.75 – a price consumers will see for sure at the pump this summer — as the price that would push them toward changing habits or choices, including:

  1. Combining errands or trips – 65% (down from 79% in 2018)
  2. Driving less – 60% (down from 73% in 2018)
  3. Reducing shopping or dining out – 49% (down from 61% in 2018)
  4. Delaying major purchases – 43% (down from 50% in 2018)
  5. Driving a more fuel efficient vehicle – 35% (down from 46% in 2018)

Crude + Demand Factors

This year, the most expensive West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices, which AAA tracks to understand impact on pump prices, have ranged between $65 and $66/bbl. Most recently WTI crude fell as low as $53/bbl. That is cheaper than last summer when prices ranged between $65 and $73 per barrel – with most daily prices hovering just under $70 per barrel. Historically, crude oil prices and domestic gasoline demand have determined the price Americans pay at the pump in the summer months. And, that’s no different this summer.

Crude Analysis: The International Energy Agency noted in its May 2019 Oil Markets Report that global crude supply decreased as a result of reduced exports from Canada, Iran and other major crude exporters. If the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners, including Russia, decide to extend their current production reduction agreement of 1.2 million b/d through the end of 2019, that would further tighten the global crude market.  OPEC extending its agreement will also likely lead to increased crude prices that would increase the price of gasoline around the world. It could also entice U.S. crude producers to export more crude, which could tighten supplies in the U.S. and raise retail prices at home. OPEC and its partners will meet on June 25 and 26 in Vienna, where they are expected to announce if the agreement will remain in effect.

Demand Forecast: For domestic gasoline demand, summer 2019 has been forecasted to reach some of the highest levels on record in the U.S. Meanwhile, domestic gasoline stocks are at their lowest level going into June since 2016. If demand rises while gasoline stocks remain low, pump prices could see modest increases, especially if supply is tight in local markets. On the other hand, gas demand could fall, as we’ve seen in recent weeks due to inclement weather from the Rockies to the Midwest and South. Moreover, the added threat of a major hurricane making landfall could also impact demand, which could suppress pump prices.

In its 2019 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center said that warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, ongoing El Nino conditions, and an enhanced West African monsoon could produce nine to 15 named storms – including four to eight hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. The mere threat of a hurricane, especially one that threatens the shutdown of Gulf Coast refineries, can dramatically impact the price of crude and gasoline until normal operations resume.

“The price of crude is a driving factor when it comes to retail gasoline prices, accounting for nearly 60% of the price motorists see at the pump year-round. While crude prices have been cheaper this year, AAA is monitoring a number of circumstances that could cause crude oil market prices to increase. This includes reductions in global and domestic crude supply, exports, and U.S. gasoline demand.”

As Americans settle into summer, many outliers could pave the way for unexpected price bumps, so stayed tuned. Motorists can always find the latest national and state gas price averages and trends at GasPrices.AAA.com.

About AAA: AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Today’s national average is $2.81, which is two cents cheaper than last week, eight cents less than last month and 13 cents less than last year. With the exception of the Rockies states, Alaska and Indiana, motorists across the country are saving as much as 23 cents/gallon to fill up as compared to last month.

“Gas prices have been trending lower now for the past month and there are no signs of pump prices changing gears toward more expensive for the summer season,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “One major indicator supporting this forecast is the price of crude oil which last week dropped by $6 to $53/bbl, which is one of the lowest prices of the year.”

How low will gas prices go? Stay tuned for AAA’s 2019 summer forecast, which will be released later this week.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.39), Louisiana ($2.39), Alabama ($2.41), South Carolina ($2.43), Arkansas ($2.46), Texas ($2.48), Tennessee ($2.48), Missouri ($2.53), Virginia ($2.54) and Oklahoma ($2.55).
  • The nation’s top 10 largest monthly decreases are: Florida (-23 cents), Delaware (-16 cents), Georgia (-15 cents), California (-14 cents), North Carolina (-14 cents), Louisiana (-13 cents), Mississippi (-13 cents), Texas (-13 cents), Tennessee (-12 cents) and South Carolina (-11 cents).

Great Lakes and Central States

There is some volatility at the pump across the Great Lakes and Central states with eight states seeing gas prices increase since last Monday, a trend recently only seen among West Coast and a few Rockies states. On the week, Ohio (+11 cents) saw the largest increase in the country and region, followed by: Illinois (+3 cents), Nebraska (+2 cents), Iowa (+2 cents), Kansas (+1 cent), Missouri (+1 cent), Indiana (+1 cent) and North Dakota (+1 cent). These states are seeing pump prices push hire in part due to regional refinery maintenance. For the five other regional states, their averages all held steady on the week, but that could quickly change to increases in the week ahead if refinery maintenance drags on.

In the region, Illinois ($3.00) carries the largest average followed by Michigan ($2.88).

Gasoline stocks added a half a million bbl on the week to push totals up to 47.8 million bbl while regional refinery utilization increased 2% to 84%, per the Energy Information Administration (EIA). A continued positive upward trend in utilization would ultimately mean moderate to strong builds in gasoline that would translate to fewer increases at the pump. Currently, stocks are tight sitting at their lowest level of the year, which is not a favorable position during the peak-driving season.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Pump prices continue to push lower among all Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states and for a second week, all state averages are under $3/gallon. Pennsylvania ($2.95), Connecticut ($2.94), New York ($2.92) and Washington, D.C. ($2.89) carry the most expensive gas prices in the region. On the week, Delaware (-6 cents), Maryland (-5 cents), Tennessee (-4 cents) and Pennsylvania (-3 cents) saw the largest declines in the region and land on the top 10 list of largest changes in the country.

On the month and on the year, gas prices are cheaper for every state in the region.

The latest EIA data shows a half a million bbl draw for the week ending May 24, but stocks continue to measure above the 63 million bbl mark. The small draw helped to push gas prices lower in the region. However, stocks sits at a 1.5 million bbl deficit year-over-year and the lowest level for the end of May since 2015. The positive news is that regional refinery utilization jumped 4% to 92%, which could translate into gasoline stock builds in the coming weeks.

Rockies

Motorists in the Rockies region are starting to see gas prices remain mostly stable. On the week pump price changes were moderate with Wyoming (+2 cents) and Montana (+1 cent) seeing increases while Utah and Idaho saw declines at two cents each. Colorado held steady at $2.86.

Compared to a month ago, gas prices are as much as a dime more expensive in the region, although compared to this time last year gas prices are mostly cheaper: Montana (-6 cents), Wyoming (-6 cent) and Colorado (-4 cents). At $2.18, Idaho’s average is the same year-over-year while Utah’s (+2 cents) year-over-year difference is just a few pennies more.

Gasoline stocks built by about 300,000 bbl to bump total stocks up to 6.7 million bbl on the week. This was supported by regional refinery utilization hitting 96%, which is the highest utilization rate for the end of May since 2014 and the highest in the country according to EIA data for the week ending May 24. For motorists, this strong utilization rate could mean gas price stability for at least the coming weeks.

South and Southeast

Gas prices across the South and Southeast states are among the cheapest in the country selling, on average, for $2.57 or less, with the exception of New Mexico ($2.69). The states with the cheapest averages in the region and the county are: Mississippi ($2.39), Louisiana ($2.39), Alabama ($2.41), South Carolina ($2.43), Arkansas ($2.46), Texas ($2.48) and Oklahoma ($2.55).

On the week, Texas (-5 cents), Georgia (-4 cents) and Louisiana (-4 cents) saw the largest pump price drops in the region. Following behind are Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina with gas price declines of three cents since last Monday. All other states saw smaller declines or averages held steady.

The region continues to see declines at the pump thanks to a steady build of gasoline stocks, which increased by 1.2 million bbl according to the latest EIA data. With refinery utilization at 95% and stocks totaling 84.7 million bbl — a nearly 6 million bbl year-over-year surplus — motorists in the South and Southeast can expect gas prices to push lower in the coming weeks.

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 ($3.94) and Hawaii ($3.64) are the most expensive markets. Washington ($3.52), Alaska ($3.49), Nevada ($3.46), Oregon ($3.40) and Arizona ($3.11) follow. Pump prices in the region have mostly decreased on the week, with California (-6 cents) seeing the largest drop.

The EIA’s recent report for the week ending on May 24 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks increased by approximately 700,000 bbl from the previous week and now sit at 28.4 million bbl. The current level is nearly 3 million bbl less than last year’s level at this time, which could cause prices to see moderate increases if there are any supply challenges in the region this week.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI fell by $3.09 to $53.50. Crude prices suffered a major loss last week, the largest in six months, after new trade tensions emerged between the U.S. and Mexico, a key U.S. trade partner and a major supplier of crude oil. Threats from the Trump Administration to increase tariffs on all products exported from Mexico to the U.S, including crude compound concerns about global economic growth, already at risk due to the U.S.-China trade war. That dispute has prompted market observers to worry about a recession, which could suppress global crude demand later this year. Moving into this week, growing global trade war fears will likely push crude prices down.

In related news, EIA reported that crude stocks were mostly flat on the week. Total domestic crude inventories are holding steady at 476.5 million bbl. Additionally, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. gained three oil rigs last week. There are currently 800 active rigs, which is 61 fewer rigs now than last year at this time.

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.

For the 37.6 million Americans who hit the road this past Memorial Day weekend, the vast majority found savings at the pump compared to last year’s holiday. Today, 42 states and Washington, D.C. have gas price averages that are less expensive year-over-year, with Floridians (-31 cents) seeing the largest yearly change. Motorists in West Coast states are the exception, paying nearly double-digits more than last May to fill up.

“Gas prices have declined, on average, by at least a nickel, for the majority of the country since the beginning of May and that’s a trend motorists can expect to continue into early June,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Stable crude oil prices are helping to push prices down at the pump despite tight domestic gasoline supply and robust demand. A bump in demand could push prices higher, but only by a few cents.”

Today’s national average is $2.82, which is cheaper than last week by two cents, last month by six cents and last year by 16 cents.

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 yearly decreases are: Florida (-31 cents), Delaware (-28 cents), New Mexico (-27 cents), Kentucky (-25 cents), Texas (-24 cents), Louisiana (-24 cents), Georgia (-24 cents), Mississippi (-23 cents), Alabama (-23 cents) and Michigan (-22 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.42), Louisiana ($2.43), Alabama ($2.43), South Carolina ($2.46), Arkansas ($2.48), Missouri ($2.52), Tennessee ($2.52), Texas ($2.52), Oklahoma ($2.55) and Virginia ($2.56).

South and Southeast

Seven South and Southeast states make the top 10 list for largest yearly savings at the pump: Florida (-31 cents), New Mexico (-27 cents), Louisiana (-24 cents), Texas (-24 cents), Georgia (-24 cents), Mississippi (-23 cents), and Alabama (-23 cents). In the region, Oklahomans are seeing the smallest year-over-year gas price change at -14 cents.

On the week, gas prices are cheaper across the region. South Carolina was the outlier again, seeing a one cent jump since last week. State gas price averages range from $2.60 in Georgia to $2.42 in Mississippi.

With a build of 514,000 bbl, stocks are at their highest level – 83 million bbl – for the region in two months. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) report for the week ending May 17 shows refinery utilization holding steady at the 94% level. Steady utilization and increasing stocks are helping to push prices cheaper for motorists in the region.

Great Lakes and Central States

At a penny, Michigan and Indiana saw the only gas pump jumps on the week in the Great Lakes and Central States. Ohio (-7 cents), Nebraska (-4 cents), Kentucky (-3 cents) and Missouri (-2 cents) saw the largest declines at the pump with the remaining states’ averages declining a penny or holding steady on the week.

Regional stocks declined by 2 million bbl, per the EIA’s latest data, to drop levels to 47.3 million bbl. A large draw like this, especially amid very tight gasoline stock levels, may push gas prices more expensive in the coming days and weeks ahead. Year-over-year, regional stocks sit at a 5.2 million bbl deficit.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices continue to trend cheaper across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, with all averages now under $3/gallon. Though, at $2.98 Pennsylvania ranks as the tenth most expensive state in the country and the most expensive in the region. On the week, declines were modest. North Carolina, Washington, D.C. and Maryland saw the largest declines in the region at three cents.

Year-over-year, Delaware (-28 cents) carries the largest change in the region followed by Maryland (-22 cents), Tennessee (-20 cents) and North Carolina (-20 cents).

EIA’s latest data shows the region saw a significant build in stocks – 3.8 million bbl – to total 63.7 million. The increase was much needed and helped cut the year-over-year deficit in half, now only sitting at 1.6 million bbl less than this time last year. To keep gas prices decreasing and/or stable, stocks will need to continue to build.

Rockies

With a two-cent increase, Wyoming saw the largest weekly jump at the pump in both the region and the country. Montana saw prices increase as well, but only by a penny. For the first time in more than a month, Utah (-2 cent) saw gas prices decrease while Idaho’s ($3.20) remained stable on the week. 

While motorists in the region are seeing small jumps and declines, compared to a month ago, pump prices are more expensive for the majority: Utah (+24 cents), Idaho (+19 cents), Wyoming (+11 cents), Colorado (+9 cents) and Montana (+5 cents).

At 6.4 million bbl, gasoline stocks in the region increased by just 100,000 bbl, which is the first build seen in a few weeks, according to EIA data. The bump, though very minimal, helped to keep gas prices mostly stable on the week.

West Coast

Motorists in the West Coast region are paying the highest pump prices in the nation, with all seven states landing on the nation’s top 10 most expensive list today. California ($3.99) and Hawaii ($3.64) are the most expensive markets. Washington ($3.53), Nevada ($3.47), Alaska ($3.48), Oregon ($3.42) and Arizona ($3.13) follow. Prices in the region have seen mostly modest decreases on the week, with Alaska (+2 cents) seeing the largest jump and California (-4 cents) seeing the largest decline.

The EIA’s recent weekly report for the week ending on May 17 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks grew significantly by 1.3 million bbl from the previous week and now sit at 27.7 million bbl. The current level is 2.5 million bbl less than last year’s level at this time. The West Coast may see continued price volatility, as a result of tight stocks in the region, increasing pump prices for motorists in the region.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 72 cents to settle at $58.63. Overall, crude prices saw a loss last week, following release of EIA’s weekly petroleum status report that showed total domestic crude inventories rose by 4.8 million bbl. At 476.8 million bbl, the current level is the highest since July 2017. Ample crude supplies and increased production, which hit a record high of 12.2 million b/d last week, has increased market expectations that supply tightening due to OPEC’s production reduction agreement and reduced crude exports from Iran and Venezuela may be overcome by increased export prowess as a result of the nation’s growing domestic crude supply. Market observers will await OPEC’s meeting on June 25 and 26 in Vienna, where the cartel will likely decide to extend the agreement it has in place with its partners for the remainder of 2019, to determine how much global crude supplies may tighten 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.

Gas prices are as much as six cents cheaper in some states across the country on the week, which has pushed the national gas price average cheaper by a penny to $2.85 today. That average could have been even lower had a handful of Midwest states not seen prices increase by more than a nickel due to ongoing refinery maintenance.

“Gas prices are getting cheaper for the majority of motorists despite the fact that U.S. gasoline stocks sit at a 7 million bbl deficit year-over-year. Crude oil prices have remained relatively stable the past few months, which is one reason helping gas prices be cheaper than last year at this time,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Today, motorists can find gas for $2.50 or less at nearly half of all gas stations in the country.”

Compared to last month, today’s national average ($2.85) is cheaper by a penny and is seven cents cheaper year-over-year.

 

Quick Stats

  • The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Ohio (+11 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Florida (-7 cents), Illinois (-5 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Delaware (-4 cents), Mississippi (-4 cents), Indiana (+3 cents) and Georgia (-3 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.45), South Carolina ($2.45), Alabama ($2.45), Mississippi ($2.45), Arkansas ($2.50), Tennessee ($2.54), Missouri ($2.54), Oklahoma ($2.56), Texas ($2.57) and Kansas ($2.58).

Great Lakes and Central States

Amid refinery maintenance, gasoline stocks dropped by 700,000 bbl, squeezing total levels to 49.4 million bbl, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is not only the lowest level of the year, but a stock level historically only recorded in the second half of the year for the region and certainly not a level seen going into peak driving season. The draw was one of the reasons three states in the region were among the top five weekly increases in gas prices in the country: Ohio (+11 cents), Michigan (+7 cents) and Indiana (+3 cents). These jumps mostly wiped up any decreases seen last week for these three states.  All other states in the Great Lakes and Central States saw pump prices decline by as much as a nickel on the week.

Illinois ($2.97) remains the most expensive price in the region followed by Indiana ($2.84) and Michigan ($2.83). Missouri ($2.54) and Kansas ($2.58) carry the cheapest.

As previously reported, the region averages stock levels around 52 million bbl ahead of Memorial Day. With levels facing a 2.6 million bbl deficit, motorists should not be surprised if gas prices inch up this month, especially as refinery utilization remains under 90%.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

On the week, gas prices are cheaper across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states ranging from $3.00 in Pennsylvania to $2.54 in Tennessee. With a four cent decrease, Delaware and North Carolina saw the largest decreases in the region and rank among the top 10 weekly changes in the country.

Looking at prices compared to last month, the region has states appearing on both the top 10 list for the smallest and largest monthly changes in the country. The states with the largest changes in the last month are Rhode Island (+12 cents) and Massachusetts (+11 cents). While the states with the smallest changes in pump prices are Maryland (no change), Virginia (+1 cent), Washington, D.C. (no change) and West Virginia (no change). However, some states have prices cheaper month-over-month: Tennessee (-6 cents) and North Carolina (-4 cents).

Motorists paid less to fill up this past week as gasoline stocks drew by 700,000 bbl, but that might not be the case for long. The EIA reports total stocks measure at 59.9 million bbl, which is a 3.3 million bbl deficit compared to last year at this time. A bump in refinery utilization could help to plump up stock levels to keep gas prices stable.

South and Southeast

South and Southeast states are seeing some of the largest decreases in the country on the week with Florida (-7 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Mississippi (-4 cents) and Georgia (-3 cents) ranking among the largest pump price declines. With cheaper gas prices trending across the in the region, motorists can find gas for $2.50 or less at 49% of gas stations in South and Southeast states.

Compared to a month ago, gas prices are cheaper in all 10 South and Southeast states: Florida (-11 cents), Louisiana (-8 cents), South Carolina (-8 cents), Mississippi (-6 cents), Alabama (-5 cents), Oklahoma (-4 cents), Georgia (-4 cents), New Mexico (-3 cents) and Arkansas (-3 cent). Texas ($2.57) average is the same year-over-year.

Pump prices declined as gasoline stocks built by 1.5 million bbl in the region, which was the only in the country to see an increase. At 82.9 million bbl and a 94% regional refinery utilization, reported by the EIA, motorists in the South and Southeast can expect gas prices to trend stable if not cheaper in the week ahead. However, a small spike ahead of Memorial Day Weekend is not out of the question.

Rockies

While gas prices are more expensive on the week in Utah and Idaho, for the first time in weeks, none of these states landed on the top 10 list for largest weekly changes in the country. More so, gas prices increased by only two cents in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, while Colorado ($2.84) and Montana ($2.86) prices held steady since last Monday. However, with a state average of $3.20 in Idaho and $3.19 in Utah, these states carry among the top 10 pump prices in the country.

Gasoline stocks in the Rockies region drew by 400,000 bbl to total levels at 6.3 million bbl. The draw might have been larger had regional refinery utilization not jumped by 10% to 93%. The increase in utilization helped to keep prices mostly stable despite gasoline stock levels not sitting this low since September 2017. Stock levels and utilization will be major factors determining the movement of gas prices in coming weeks, which is likely to trend more expensive.

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are the highest in the nation, with all seven states landing on the nation’s top 10 most expensive list today. California ($4.04) and Hawaii ($3.64) are the most expensive markets. Washington ($3.54), Nevada ($3.49), Alaska ($3.46), Oregon ($3.43) and Arizona ($3.14) follow. Prices in the region have seen mostly modest increases on the week, with Alaska (+2 cents) seeing the largest jump and California (-3 cents) seeing the largest decline.

The EIA’s recent weekly report for the week ending on May 10 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks fell again by approximately 700,000 bbl from the previous week and now sit at 26.4 million bbl. The current level is 3.3 million bbl less than last year’s level at this time. The West Coast may see continued price volatility and shrinking gasoline stocks this week, increasing pump prices for motorists in the region.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped 11 cents to settle at $62.76. Crude prices increased last week due to rising global tensions that saw attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and on a Saudi Arabian oil pipeline. Those attacks only increased supply concerns that have been building due to the United States taking a tough line on sanctions against Iran and unrest in Venezuela and Libya leading to disruptions of supplies from those countries.

Crude prices will likely continue their ascent this week after OPEC and its partners met over the weekend to discuss compliance with the group’s 1.2 million b/d production reduction agreement that has been in place since January 2019. The group will formally decide if it will keep the agreement in place beyond June at next month’s meeting, but after this weekend’s compliance meeting, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that there was consensus among participants to continue to drive down crude inventories for the remainder of the year.

In related news, EIA’s weekly petroleum report revealed that total domestic crude inventories increased by 5.4 million bbl to 472 million bbl. The current level is 39.7 million bbl more than last year at this time. Moreover, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. lost three rigs last week, bringing the total to 802, which is 42 fewer rigs than last year at this time.

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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