(GasBuddy) For the first time in over a month, the nation’s average gas price has risen, climbing 4.4 cents from a week ago to $4.11 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 down 13.3 cents from a month ago and $1.24 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 4.6 cents in the last week and stands at $5.07 per gallon.

“For the first time in over a month, the national average price of gasoline has risen. Primarily, this was due to oil prices that had jumped the prior week, pushing up the price that stations pay for fuel and thus causing them to raise prices,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “The rise has been quite tame in most areas, while others have continued to gently decline. But, with the French election now behind us, there is risk that the EU could pursue harsher sanctions on Russia’s energy, which could cause oil prices to rise if it happens – something motorists should be on the watch for. In addition, U.S. oil inventories continue to decline, putting additional pressure on prices as the nation’s SPR continues to drain and Russia’s war on Ukraine remains ongoing. The global imbalance between supply and demand that led to these higher prices continues for the time being.”

OIL PRICES

In early Monday trade, oil prices were plummeting, largely on fears of continued lockdowns in China eroding oil demand there. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down $4.65 per barrel to $97.42, nearly $10 lower than last week’s open which saw WTI at $107.34. Brent crude oil was also sharply lower by $4.93 per barrel to $101.72, nearly $11 lower than last Monday’s $112.28 per barrel level. In addition, the French election saw no surprises, but Covid concerns continued to dominate the news cycle as Shanghai and Beijing saw restrictions on travel and heavy testing. China is one of the world’s largest oil consumers, and travel restrictions have very quick ripple effects on oil consumption.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was up 2 rigs to 695, and was 257 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count was down by 2 to 101, or 46 more than a year ago.

OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES

Data from the Energy Information Administration showed large declines in oil and refined product inventories last week, with oil stocks plummeting 8 million barrels, while the SPR fell 4.7 million barrels in the last week alone. Gasoline inventories fell by 800,000 barrels, just 3% lower than the five year average for this time of year. Distillate inventories fell a more significant 2.7 million barrels and stand about 20% below the five year average for this time of year. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for gasoline consumption, increased 131,000 barrels to 8.87 million barrels per day. So far in 2022, implied demand is up 3.9% from last year. Refinery utilization also rose by a percentage point to 91.0%, with gasoline production rising to 9.8 million barrels per day and distillate production rising to 4.8 million barrels per day. U.S. petroleum exports reached new record highs last week with 10.6 million barrels per day of oil and petroleum being exported.

FUEL DEMAND

According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight dip last week (Sun-Sat). Nationally, weekly gasoline demand fell 0.7% from the prior week, while demand fell 3.1% in PADD 1, rose 1.4% in PADD 2, fell 1.8% in PADD 3, rose 3.9% in PADD 4, and fell 1.2% in PADD 5.

GAS PRICE TRENDS

The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.89 per gallon, up 10 cents from last week, followed by $3.79, $3.99, $3.69, and $4.09 rounding out the five most common prices.

The median U.S. price is $3.89 per gallon, up 2 cents from last week and about 18 cents lower than the national average.

The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.56/gal, while the bottom 10% average $3.58/gal.

The states with the lowest average prices: Georgia ($3.70), Arkansas ($3.73), and Oklahoma ($3.73).

The states with the highest prices: California ($5.67), Hawaii ($5.19), and Nevada ($5.07).