(GasBuddy) For the fourth straight week, the nation’s average gas price has gone up, rising 15.3 cents from a week ago to $4.46 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 39.1 cents from a month ago and $1.43 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 3.0 cents in the last week and stands at $5.55 per gallon.

“Those filling their tanks last week saw another jolt at the pump, as both gasoline and diesel prices continued their multi-week rally,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “New records continued to be set on a near daily basis as the national average edges even closer to $4.50 per gallon. Prices later this week could be closer to $5 per gallon than $4, as demand continues to edge higher and inventories of both gasoline and diesel continue to decline, temperatures warm and motorists get back outside and we near the Memorial Day weekend, the start of the summer driving season. While the increases may start to slow in the days ahead as pump prices catch up to oil, there isn’t much reason to be optimistic that we’ll see a plunge any time soon.”

OIL PRICES
Crude oil prices were seen trading slightly lower in early Monday trade, even as China announced it would begin to reopen Shanghai, its largest city, after Covid lockdowns reduced oil demand. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 64 cents in early Monday trade to $109.85, but still a $2+ gain on last Monday’s $107.19 level. Brent crude oil was down 68 cents in early trade to $110.87 per barrel, down about 70 cents from last Monday’s $110.14 print. Oil has continued to swing wildly as headlines change expectations for oil consumption in months ahead, and as governing bodies continue to react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was up 9 rigs to 714, and was 261 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count was down by 3 to 88, or 29 more than a year ago.

OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude oil inventories surged 8.5 million barrels, and were 13% below the five year average for this time of year, but was offset by the largest ever weekly drop in the SPR: 7.0 million barrels. Domestic oil production fell 100,000 barrels per day as Alaska noted a small decline, leading to the drop. Gasoline inventories fell 3.6 million barrels in the last week, and stand 5% below the five year average for this time of year. Distillate inventories, which include products like diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, fell 900,000 barrels to a 30 million barrel deficit to one year ago. Distillate inventories now stand 23% below the five year average for this time of year. Implied gasoline demand fell 154,000bpd to 8.70 million barrels per day, while refinery utilization rebounded 1.6 percentage points to 90.0% as maintenance season continues to wind down.

FUEL DEMAND
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight rise last week (Sun-Sat). Nationally, weekly gasoline rose 3.0% from the prior week, while demand fell 0.0% in PADD 1, rose 6.5% in PADD 2, rose 3.2% in PADD 3, rose 2.7% in PADD 4, and fell 0.1% in PADD 5.

GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $4.19 per gallon, up 20 cents from last week, followed by $4.49, $4.09, $4.29, and $3.99 rounding out the five most common prices.
The median U.S. price is $4.29 per gallon, up 19 cents from last week and about 17 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.81/gal, while the bottom 10% average $3.91/gal.
The states with the lowest average prices: Georgia ($3.98), Kansas ($3.98), and Oklahoma ($3.98).
The states with the highest prices: California ($5.95), Hawaii ($5.27), and Nevada ($5.15).