(GasBuddy) In an unusual feat for spring, the national average price of gasoline is unchanged from a week ago at $2.85 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 2.2 cents lower than a month ago and $1.07 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel is also unchanged from a week ago and stands at $3.07 per gallon.
“Gas prices have remained largely stable in the last week across much of the country with the exception of the West Coast, where prices in some areas continue to advance, mainly in California as summer gasoline and healthy demand have boosted prices, but for everyone else, we’re far removed from the fast pace of increases we saw earlier this year,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Gasoline demand has given up ground for the second straight week, likely due to some areas seeing a rise in coronavirus cases, and as spring break plans conclude. The next trend in gas prices isn’t evident just yet, we may see additional slight sideways moves in the weeks ahead, until either demand starts to increase notably again, or we see the opposite.”
Crude oil prices perked up last week on solid improvements in jobless claims, retail sales and consumer sentiment, pushing a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil up to $63.21 in early Monday trade, up nearly $3 from last Monday’s $60.54 figure. Brent crude oil was also seen rising alongside WTI to $66.93 per barrel, up from last week’s $63.54 price. While positive economic news in the U.S. likely played a leading role in the rally, caution must not be thrown to the wind, with Covid hotspots appearing in India, while Europe continues to struggle, and with South America, particularly Brazil, grapple with rising case counts.
The oil rig count last week continued its slow recovery, according to Baker Hughes. The number of rigs in service in the U.S. rose by 7 to a total of 439, still 90 lower than a year ago, but a clear improvement from the beginning of March, when 402 rigs were active. The number of active rigs in Canada fell 2 to 56, a figure 26 rigs higher than last year. Active rigs in Canada, however, have fallen from 181 in early March.
The Energy Information Administration last week reported a large 5.9 million barrel decline in oil inventories as refinery inputs rose, pushing utilization rates to 85.0%, a one percentage point gain from the prior week. Gasoline inventories fell by 300,000 barrels per day while distillate inventories fell 2.1 million barrels. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail gasoline demand, rose 162,000 barrels per day to 8.94 million barrels per day, indicating Americans continue to fill their tanks more often and drive more as the economy continues to recover from the severe Covid effects felt last year.
According to a new dataset being released by GasBuddy, U.S. gasoline demand fell for the second straight week. Nationally, gasoline demand fell 0.57%, while demand fell 0.7% in PADD 1, rose 0.8% in PADD 2, fell 2.7% in PADD 3, fell 0.4% in PADD 4 and fell 0.3% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists was $2.69 per gallon, down 10 cents from last week, followed by $2.79, $2.59 and $2.89.
The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $3.78 per gallon, up 3 cents from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.42 per gallon, unchanged from a week ago.
The median U.S. price is $2.75 per gallon, unchanged from last week and about 10 cents lower than the national average.
The states with the lowest average prices: Texas ($2.54), Mississippi ($2.55) and South Carolina ($2.55).
The states with the highest priced states: California ($3.96), Hawaii ($3.72) and Nevada ($3.39).