(GasBuddy) The nation’s average gas price has risen 1.3 cents per gallon from a week ago to $3.18 per gallon Monday 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 up 18 cents from a month ago and $1.01 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 0.7 cents in the last week and stands at $3.29 per gallon.
“Gas prices have been stuck in somewhat of a limbo and remain near 2021 highs long after Hurricane Ida has dissipated. The damage done to oil production has been left behind and so far has prevented prices from resuming their seasonal decline,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Ida caused the loss of over 30 million barrels of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, and with gasoline demand remaining relatively high for the season, oil inventories remain relatively tight, preventing any organized decline in gas prices for the time being. As a result, we may have to wait a couple more weeks until hurricane season slows for oil inventories to start to rise and gas prices to fall.”
Crude oil prices were solidly in the red in early Monday trade with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate down $1.05 per barrel to $70.90, but still slightly higher than a week ago, when crude was at $70.64 in early Monday trade. Brent crude oil was also down, trading 93 cents lower to $74.36 per barrel, also slightly higher than last week’s $73.72 tally on Monday morning. Oil was trading lower with the Dow poised to drop nearly 600 points on the open Monday as Asia stocks saw a large selloff on fears of economic slowdown, and an upcoming Fed meeting that could feature a shift in policy, with the Fed potentially on the cusp of slowing monetary stimulus as inflation surges. In addition, Covid cases continue to surge as cooler weather returns and the possibility of a Federal shutdown lingers.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES
Oil, gasoline and distillate product inventories all saw a drop in last week’s data from the Energy Information Administration, as refineries saw a tiny 0.2 percentage point uptick in utilization, which remained at just 82.1% after Ida and Nicholas pushed refineries offline. Crude oil inventories are now 7% below the five year range for this time of year, while gasoline inventories fell nearly 2 million barrels to nearly 6% below the five year average range for this time of year. Distillate inventories ahead of the peak consumption season fell 1.7 million barrels and stand a whopping 13% below the five year range and an even more eye-popping 26% below last year. In addition, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve saw its level drop to the lowest since 2003 as the government opened the spigot, allowing oil refineries access to begin ramping up refining as Gulf of Mexico production has been very slow to come back online.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy card, U.S. retail gasoline demand fell for the fifth straight week, continuing with seasonal slowdowns as air temperatures continue to cool. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand fell 0.1% from the prior week, while demand rose 0.8% in PADD 1, fell 0.4% in PADD 2, rose 0.3% in PADD 3, fell 2.6% in PADD 4 and fell 3.1% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists was again $2.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.09, $2.89 and $2.79.
The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $4.19 per gallon, unchanged from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.69 per gallon, also unchanged from a week ago.
The median U.S. price is $3.06 per gallon, up 7 cents from last week and about 12 cents lower than the national average.
The states with the lowest average prices: Texas ($2.78), Mississippi ($2.79) and Oklahoma ($2.82).
The states with the highest priced states: California ($4.36), Hawaii ($4.03) and Nevada ($3.92).