(GasBuddy) For the first time in 9 weeks, the national average price of gasoline has fallen, posting a 2.1 cent per gallon decline from a week ago to $3.05 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 2.0 cents higher than a month ago and 93.5 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 0.3 cents in the last week and stands at $3.21 per gallon.
“The ferocious rise in gas prices has finally started to cool as gas prices have eased across a majority of the country for the first time in months,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “There have been some challenges in pockets across the country as demand remains very healthy, and stations in some areas where demand is very high struggle to keep up thanks to the truck driver shortage. As we head toward the July 4 holiday, I’m optimistic that we’ll continue to see prices slowly drift lower before possibly rising in later July or August should we see any disruptions from hurricane season. But for now it seems most Americans are simply happy to be getting outside and back to some sense of normal.”
The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was again pushing higher Monday morning after a brief start in the red with WTI up 44 cents to $72.08, slightly higher from last week Monday’s $71.63 tally. Brent crude oil was also higher by 11 cents per barrel to $73.62, just 30 cents higher than last week’s start at $73.29 per barrel. After the Fed’s meeting last week to keep interest rates unchanged, they also raised expectations of raising interest rates sooner than expected, pushing the dollar higher and weakening oil in the process, leading to selling in the oil patch. With fundamentals remaining strong, it is yet to be seen if last week’s momentum can carry into the new week. Gasoline demand continues to be strong, according to GasBuddy data, continuing to provide the oil market a catalyst.
According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count rose by 9 to 470, and was 204 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count soared by 24 to 117, or 100 more than a year ago.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES
U.S. crude oil inventories saw a large drop for a third straight week, falling 7.4 million barrels to a level 5% below the five year average for this time of year. Gasoline inventories saw a gain of 2 million barrels, while distillate inventories fell 1 million barrels. The EIA also said implied gasoline demand jumped 800,000 barrels per day to 9.36 million barrels, more in line with GasBuddy data on demand. Refinery utilization also jumped again to reach nearly 93%, a figure in-line with normal summer levels, while gasoline production rose to nearly 10 million barrels per day. Total petroleum supply now stands nearly 11% lower than a year ago.
According to a new dataset being released by GasBuddy, weekly U.S. gasoline demand set another fresh Covid high, rising for the fifth straight week. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand rose 2.9%. Due to a system outage Friday evening into Saturday morning, specific demand changes by PADD are unavailable this week.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists was $2.89 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $2.99, $2.79 and $3.09.
The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $4.05 per gallon, unchanged from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.60 per gallon, down two cents from a week ago.
The median U.S. price is $2.94 per gallon, down a penny from last week and about 11 cents lower than the national average.
The states with the lowest average prices: Louisiana ($2.69), Mississippi ($2.69) and Oklahoma ($2.70).
The states with the highest priced states: California ($4.21), Hawaii ($3.90) and Nevada ($3.67).