(GASBUDDY) For the second straight week, average gas prices have pushed higher, with the national average rising 4.2 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.38 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 price of diesel has risen 2.6 cents in the last week and stands at $2.62 per gallon.
“Gas prices have jumped to yet another multi-month high as crude oil price rise amidst perceived improvement in the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to pump prices up as demand shows renewed signs of recovery,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “In addition, with rumors swirling that President-elect Biden plans to cancel approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would cut off reliable Canadian oil to the U.S., oil prices may see additional pressure in the coming days. For now, the upward trend in gas prices may slow from the sharp rise in the last week, but motorists shouldn’t expect much of a break from rising gas prices, which now stand less than twenty cents from their year-ago levels.”
The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil has continued to rally over the last week and stood at $52.29 per barrel, down just 7 cents in early Monday trade, compared to $51.80 to start last week. Brent crude oil was also down slightly, off 12 cents to $54.98 per barrel, just under its week ago level of $55.32. A weakened U.S. dollar as well as continued market optimism have boosted oil prices in recent weeks. Pay with GasBuddy data showed U.S. gasoline demand rose slightly, some 1.1% last week versus the prior week, keeping market optimism in play.
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration may have helped inspire some buying as well, with the agency reporting U.S. oil inventories logging a drop of 3.2 million barrels as refiners again ramped up operations. Gasoline inventories rose a whopping 4.4 million barrels while distillate inventories jumped a slightly larger 4.8 million barrels. Implied gasoline demand saw a mild increase of 91,000 barrels per day, rising to 7.53 million barrels, while so far in 2021 total gasoline demand was about 11% lower than the year ago period. Refinery utilization increased to 82% of capacity, while gasoline production fell to 7.5 million barrels per day. Overall, petroleum inventories were up 44 million barrels versus a year ago.
At gas pumps, consumers in a majority of states again saw a jump in average gas prices.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists was unchanged at $2.29 per gallon, followed by $2.19, $2.39 and $2.09.
The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $3.26 per gallon, up 8 cents from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.00 per gallon, up 9 cents from a week ago.
The median U.S. price is $2.29 per gallon, up 5 cents from last week and about 9 cents lower than the national average.
The states with the lowest average prices: Louisiana ($2.06), Mississippi ($2.06) and Oklahoma ($2.07), while the highest priced states were California ($3.33), Hawaii ($3.24) and Washington ($2.80).