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WEST COAST, CORN BELT SEE GAS PRICE SPIKE, PUSH NATIONAL AVERAGE HIGHER
After falling for two straight weeks, the nation’s average price of gasoline has increased, rising 1.6 cents from a week ago to $3.79 per gallon yesterday according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country.
The national average is down 3.0 cents from a month ago but 11.4 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 0.9 cents in the last week and stands at $4.426 per gallon, 58.6 cents lower than one year ago.
“The national average hit some road bumps over the last week after starting to decline early in the week. The second half saw the national average rise as gas prices in the Corn Belt started spiking, pulling the average price in the US along with it,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “In addition, the West Coast saw more refinery snags, pushing gas prices higher, and so areas of the West Coast got punched along with the Corn Belt states. Over 10 states saw prices rise by over 10 cents per gallon compared to last week, while some like Iowa and Minnesota have seen average prices spike by over 30 cents per gallon. There is some good news for those in the hardest hit states in the Midwest, however, as gasoline prices should start to level off and even decline by mid-week. And with most of the nation switching back to cheaper winter gasoline on Saturday, we should see more price decreases for most of the nation in the weeks ahead, barring further refinery disruptions and hurricane season. Fall tends to bring falling gas prices, and I’m hoping this year won’t be any different.”
After falling the week prior, oil prices showed some strength last week in the abbreviated trading week, with WTI rising over $1.50 per barrel, or nearly 2%, while Brent rose over $2 per barrel, or slightly more than 2%. Saudi Arabia announced it would extend its production cut through the end of 2023, sparking the rally, while Russia also indicated that it would extend its export curbs. Previous expectations were that the Saudis would extend the cut for another month, so announcing a 3-month extension surprised the market, sparking the rally. Meanwhile, U.S. oil inventories have been seeing some hefty drops of nearly 30 million barrels over the last month. In early trade, WTI was up 37 cents to $87.88, up from $85.41 last Tuesday, while Brent crude oil was also 51 cents higher at $91.16 per barrel, up from $88.49 last Tuesday.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed yet another hefty decline in U.S. crude oil inventories, which fell 6.3 million barrels. Domestic crude oil production was unchanged, holding at 12.8 million barrels, with both Alaska and Lower 48 production holding steady. Gasoline inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels, with less than a week to go before the switch back to cheaper, higher RVP winter gasoline. Gasoline inventories now stand over 1% lower than a year ago. Distillate inventories posted a 700,000-barrel climb and are 6% higher than a year ago, but with a heavy maintenance schedule for PADD 1, there still could be some fireworks this fall for distillate prices in the region. Implied gasoline demand jumped 253,000 barrels per day to 9.32 million, likely thanks to the Labor Day holiday. Refinery utilization fell 0.2 percentage points to 93.1%, while gasoline and distillate production both fell.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy™ fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a hefty 3.9% decrease last week (Sun-Sat), as post-Labor Day travel appeared to drop significantly. Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 2.8% in PADD 1, fell 4.9% in PADD 2, fell 3.2% in PADD 3, fell 4.1% in PADD 4, and fell 4.9% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.59 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.69, $3.49, $3.39, and $3.79 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.60 per gallon, up 1 cent from last week and about 19 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $5.24 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.18 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Mississippi ($3.23), Louisiana ($3.28), and Tennessee ($3.34).
The states with the highest average prices: California ($5.39), Washington ($5.02), and Hawaii ($4.75).
DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $4.29 per gallon, down 10 cents from last week, followed by $4.39, $4.19, $3.99, and $4.49 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $4.29 per gallon, unchanged from last week and about 13 cents lower than the national average for diesel.
Diesel prices at the top 10% of stations in the country average $5.63 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.85 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Louisiana ($3.96), Mississippi ($3.96), and Texas ($3.99).
The states with the highest average diesel prices: California ($6.05), Hawaii ($5.65), and Washington ($5.59)