(GasBuddy) For the sixth straight week, the national average price of gasoline has fallen, posting a 2.1 cent drop over the last week to $2.58 per gallon, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 10.5 million individual price reports covering nearly 150,000 gas stations across the country. The average price of diesel fell 1.4 cents to $2.92 per gallon.
“For now six straight weeks we’ve seen the national average price of gasoline decline, and after last week’s escalation in the trade battle between the U.S. and China, it’s possible that the streak continues longer than previously anticipated as oil markets react to the news, sending oil lower,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “With Labor Day around the corner, motorists will see the cheapest end to the summer since 2016, a great send-off to wrap up the summer driving season, but more good news likely lay ahead for motorists. Gas prices will likely decline even more substantially starting in mid-September as most of the nation begins the transition back to cheaper winter gasoline starting September 16. Fall will bring plenty of falling gas prices, so long as there remains turmoil between the U.S. and China.”
Oil prices saw a weekly drop after China announced it was increasing tariffs on U.S. goods, prompting President Trump to up the ante nearly immediately after announcing an increase on Chinese goods, prompting a drop in oil prices. Late Sunday as the trade war escalated, oil fell to $53 per barrel before staging a rally Monday morning after Trump signaled a more conciliatory tone that China wanted to talk and he wanted to make a deal. Oil rebounded to $55.18, still off the $55.85 per barrel price from last week Monday morning. Should Trump’s statement Monday morning change later in the week, oil will likely sell-off again.
Data from the Energy Information Administration last week showed a drop in crude oil inventories of 2.7 million barrels while gasoline and distillate inventories rose 300,000 barrels and 2.6 million barrels, respectively. Gasoline demand also cooled slightly after posting an all-time record high the previous week. Overall, oil and refined product inventories remain above average and should contribute to lower gas prices going into autumn.
For the fourth straight week, nearly all states saw average gas prices decline, led by the Great Lakes, where prices may cycle this week after falling double digits with some single stations falling as much as 40 cents per gallon in the last week. For that reason, motorists in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio may want to fill their tanks up before a short-term spike while the rest of the country should see some stability in the week ahead, barring any major change between the U.S. and China. The most common gas price across the country was $2.39 per gallon, followed by $2.29 and $2.49. The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations was $3.50, up 3 cents from a week ago, while the lowest 10% averaged $2.11, a 2-cent drop. The median U.S. price was $2.48, or 10 cents under the national average.