(GasBuddy) For the third straight week, the nation’s average gas price has risen, climbing 1.3 cents from a week ago and stands at $3.31 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 unchanged from a month ago and 93.3 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 3.4 cents in the last week and stands at $3.61 per gallon.
“Average gas prices saw a slight boost over the last week as the rising price of crude oil continues to push prices up. While the rise was fairly tame, some states still saw slight declines. Gasoline demand, aside from motorists filling up ahead of the weekend winter storm, has been lackluster. The real pain at the pump will start in about 4-6 weeks,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Oil prices continue to edge higher as oil production remains a concern due to unrest in Libya and Kazakhstan, however, some improvement in the latter situation could lead to oil prices being more subdued.”
Crude oil prices were slightly lower in early Monday trade, which saw a quiet start due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 5 cents to $82.35, a nearly $4 gain from last Monday’s $78.68 per barrel level. Brent crude oil was down 22 cents to $85.84 in early action, also up nearly $4 per barrel from last week’s $81.52 start. Amidst headlines surrounding Russia possibly preparing to invade Ukraine and improvement in Kazakhstan, challenges persist and stability appears to be slipping.
According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was up 13 rigs to 601, and was 228 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count was up by 50 to 191, or 30 more than a year ago.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES
The first report of 2022 from the Energy Information Administration showed the recent trend of falling oil inventories and surging product inventories continuing. Crude inventories fell 4.6 million barrels and were 8% below the average range for this time of year, while gasoline inventories jumped 8.0 million barrels to 3% below the average range for this time of year. Distillate inventories fell 2.5 million barrels and stand about 15% below average for this time of year. Domestic oil production slipped to 11.7 million barrels per day while refinery utilization fell 1.4 percentage points from last week. Implied gasoline demand plunged to 7.9 million barrels per day, one of the weakest readings since the first half of 2021 as the winter blues keep Americans inside and closer to home amidst a surge in Covid cases.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy card, U.S. retail gasoline demand fell last week (Sun-Sat), as Covid cases continue to accelerate and winter bears down on much of the country, keeping gasoline demand limited. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand was up 1.8% from the prior week, while demand rose 4.1% in PADD 1, rose 1.4% in PADD 2, fell 1.2% in PADD 3, rose 0.5% in PADD 4, and fell 0.9% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $2.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.19, $3.09, $2.89, and $3.15 rounding out the five most common prices.
The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $4.39 per gallon, up 2 cents from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.82 per gallon, up 4 cents from a week ago.
The median U.S. price is $3.17 per gallon, an increase of 2 cents from last week and about 14 cents lower than the national average.
The states with the lowest average prices: Oklahoma ($2.89), Texas ($2.91), and Arkansas ($2.92).
The states with the highest prices: California ($4.63), Hawaii ($4.29), and Washington ($3.93).