BOSTON (May 1) – The upward trend at the pump is over for now as the national average has shed four cents a gallon in the last week, falling to an average of $2.38 per gallon according to price-tracker GasBuddy.com which supplies the data for wane.com’s Gas Gauge.
“Gasoline prices appear to taking a breather this week as refinery output, following spring maintenance, appears to be outstripping expected motorist demand,” said Dan McTeauge, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. “It’s unusual to see gas prices drop as the official kick off to the summer driving season is just a few weeks away. Memorial Day weekend starts the peak gasoline consumption season across the United States.”
Most of the states shared in the decline with 42 of 50 seeing falling prices led by Indiana (down 15 cents), Michigan, (down 13.7 cents), Ohio (down 12.5 cents), Hawaii (down 7.6 cents) and Kentucky (down 7.2 cents). The handful of risers were led by Montana (up 11.1 cents) Wyoming (up 6.2 cents) and South Dakota (up 3.2 cents).
Nevertheless, compared to a year ago, gas prices are an average 13.8 cents a gallon higher with Alaska leading the charge with a net jump of 56 cents by comparison to 2016. With the exception of Indiana and Ohio, whose prices are 6.6 cent and 4.2 cents cheaper, respectively, 2017 is still on track to be somewhat pricier.
With this week’s declines at the pumps, the number of gas stations selling at or under $2 per gallon has almost doubled with nearly 1,800 stations (1.3%) offering gas at that level.
Hawaii led with the nation’s priciest gallon, averaging $3.03, followed by California ($2.98) and Alaska ($2.92). South Carolina, meanwhile boasted the nation’s cheapest prices with an average of $2.06, followed by Oklahoma at $2.08 and both Arkansas and Alabama at $2.15.
“With more refineries coming back online from their semi-annual maintenance, the decline in average pump prices is poised to repeat itself again for the week ahead. Healthy gasoline inventories coupled with moderate demand for gasoline, are two factors converging to keep gas prices in check, likely until Memorial Day,” McTeague predicted.