GasBuddy: Gas prices could stabilize as demand falls slightly


(GasBuddy) The nation’s average gas price continues its climb, rising 0.5 cents per gallon from a week ago to $3.13 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 now stands 5.0 cents higher than a month ago and 93.7 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 1.1 cents in the last week and stands at $3.25 per gallon.

“While the national average has seen a slight rise over the last week, we may see some stabilization coming to the pump as oil prices hold just under last week’s 2021 peak,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Without additional crude oil supply coming online, we could see oil test $80 per barrel in the next couple of weeks. However, with U.S. gasoline demand falling slightly last week, we may have already seen peak consumption over the July 4 holiday. The jury is still out, but we’re potentially only 4-6 weeks away from gas prices beginning a seasonal decline that we’re likely all eagerly awaiting.”

The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down just over 1% in early Monday trade, or 80 cents, at $73.76 per barrel, down from $75.93 as the market opened last week on Tuesday. Brent crude oil was also joining in the red, down 84 cents per barrel to $74.68 after seeing $77 per barrel a week ago. The latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission shows some liquidation in long positions, which fell 7% from the prior week, though long positions still far outnumber shorts, indicating the market is still betting on a rise in oil prices.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count rose by 4 to 479, and was 221 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count rose by 1 to 137, or 111 more than a year ago.

For yet another week, U.S. oil inventories plummeted by nearly 7 million barrels, while gasoline also saw a large drop of 6.1 million barrels, partly due to a new all-time record high for implied gasoline demand, which topped 10 million barrels per day for the first time since the EIA began recording data in 1991. Oil inventories continue to tighten and are now 7% below the five year average for this time of year as refiners continue eating into stockpiles to produce refined fuels. Refinery utilization slipped slightly, dipping 0.7 percentage points to 92.2%, while gasoline production skyrocketed to 10.6 million barrels per day. Crude oil imports dropped over half a million barrels per day, while exports also fell. Total petroleum stocks in the U.S. now stand about 13% lower than a year ago.

According to a new dataset being released by GasBuddy, U.S. gasoline demand fell in every region after a strong July 4 holiday period. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand fell 3.7%, while demand fell 6.3% in PADD 1, fell 2.3% in PADD 2, fell 3.2% in PADD 3, fell 4.4% in PADD 4 and fell 2.7% in PADD 5.

The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists was $2.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $2.89, $3.09 and $2.79.

The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $4.12 per gallon, unchanged from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.70 per gallon, up 3 cents from a week ago.

The median U.S. price is $2.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week and about 14 cents lower than the national average.

The states with the lowest average prices: Mississippi ($2.75), Louisiana ($2.75) and Texas ($2.82).

The states with the highest priced states: California ($4.29), Hawaii ($3.99) and Washington ($3.81).

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