Average gas prices are down for the sixth straight week, posting a 6.2 cent decline over the last week to $2.67 per gallon according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 10 million individual price reports covering 135,000 gas stations across the United States. The average price of diesel fell 5.1 cents to $2.99 per gallon.
“For the sixth straight week, gasoline prices have declined nationally, a feat not often seen heading into the prime of summer driving season. It was a perfect week with every state seeing average gas prices decline versus last Sunday as stations continued to pass along the lower replacement cost as oil prices remain under considerable selling pressure, even after last week’s attack on two oil tankers which caused not much more than the oil market to blink,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Gas prices have been and will be unaffected by last weeks’ oil tanker attack and we’re highly likely to see the national average decline for its seventh straight week barring any curve balls. For some states like California, Illinois and Ohio, the party may partially end in just two weeks as those states prepare to raise gasoline taxes a noticeable amount, sending their gas prices higher just in time for July 4. For the rest of us, not only can we celebrate the holiday with fireworks, but celebrate the falling prices heading into it. Not a bad summer to be hitting the road as Americans are spending nearly $100 million less every day on gasoline than a year ago.”
The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil stood at $52.31 per barrel in early trade Monday morning, down from $54 per barrel a week ago, even after Iran was suspected to have attacked two oil tankers in international waters last week. While oil prices briefly rallied nearly $2 per barrel after the attack, weekly data from the government showing another build in crude oil inventories likely tempered gains.
The Energy Information Administration in its weekly report last week reported a mixed gain in oil and some refined products, with a 2.2 million barrel rise in crude oil inventories, an 800,000 barrel rise in gasoline inventories and a 1 million barrel decrease in distillate inventories. Refinery utilization rates rose 1.4% and stood at 93.2%, the highest rate in weeks, but even as refiners throughput more oil, inventories still rose. Total petroleum supplies remained strong, up 9.0% versus a year ago, while oil inventories stood 12.3% higher than a year ago, putting downward pressure on oil prices.
At the gas pump, all 50 states saw average gas prices decline in the last week. The most common price in the country was $2.39 per gallon, down 20 cents from the week ago level of $2.59 due to hefty gas price drops in the Great Lakes, while $2.49 was the second most common and $2.59 the third most common. The average price of the top 10% priced stations stood at $3.68 per gallon down from $3.80 a week ago while the bottom 10% priced stations averaged $2.17 and the median U.S. gas price was $2.55.
The nation’s average gas price is likely to drop for a seventh straight week as stations continue to pass along lower cost-of-replacement prices and oil remains under pressure. All eyes will be on the Middle East to see if any new attacks develop, and motorists in three states are just two weeks away from notable gas tax hikes, which will send gas prices higher. Taxes are set to rise July 1 in Illinois by 19c/gal, Ohio by 10.5c/gal and California by 5.6c/gal.