GasBuddy: Prices at the pump nearly a dollar higher than a year ago, demand hits a COVID high

National/World

(GASBUDDY) The nation’s average gas price is up, rising 3.2 cents per gallon from a week ago to $3.12 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 7.9 cents higher than a month ago and 94.3 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 0.7 cents in the last week and stands at $3.24 per gallon.

“Gasoline demand over the holiday weekend certainly did not disappoint as millions of Americans flooded the roads for the long weekend, guzzling down gasoline at a clip not seen in years. In the process, we could have set new all-time records for consumption,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “As OPEC+ met over the weekend and saw a heated disagreement about raising oil production, WTI crude oil surged in Monday evening electronic trading to nearly $77 per barrel. This was due to higher demand and a lack of additional supply from OPEC amidst a mountain of controversy on how to respond to the market. For now, with imbalances in supply and demand continuing, motorists will continue digging deeper to pay for gasoline as prices are likely headed nowhere but up until global supply starts to catch up with the surge in demand.”

OIL PRICES
The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was jumping Tuesday morning after OPEC’s meeting for Sunday was canceled as the U.A.E. balked at Saudi Arabia’s desire to raise the cartel’s oil production quotas, threatening to leave demand unmatched with supply. As of early Tuesday morning, WTI was fetching $75.93 per barrel after nearly touching $77 overnight while Brent was holding at $77. It marks another weekly rise for oil prices, which as of last Monday stood at $73.71 for WTI and $75.84 for Brent crude as global oil demand continues to increase as nations see COVID cases decline. 2021 could end with oil supply rather tight unless the group and Russia, known as OPEC+, decide to meaningfully raise production. Global oil inventories, after surging early in the pandemic, have declined back to averages as demand has raced higher, chiseling away at supply in recent months.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count rose by 5 to 475, and was 212 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count rose by 10 to 136, or 118 more than a year ago.

OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES
In what seems like a now-tradition, U.S. oil inventories continued to plunge, falling nearly 7 million barrels in last week’s Energy Information Administration report, which now stand 15.2% below their year-ago level and 6% below the five year average for this time of year. Gasoline inventories saw a minor rise of 1.5 million barrels and are nearly 6% below year-ago levels, but also flat against the five year average for this time of year. U.S. domestic oil production was flat at 11.1 million barrels per day, roughly the same as it was a year ago. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail gasoline demand that measures gasoline movements towards retail outlets, fell 267,000 barrels per day to 9.17 million barrels, likely due to poor weather the prior week as much of the Midwest saw flooding rains. Refinery utilization rose to nearly 93%, the highest level since 2019 as refiners continue to answer the call for more refined products as the U.S. economy steams ahead.

FUEL DEMAND
According to a new dataset being released by GasBuddy, U.S. gasoline demand set a new COVID high as Americans hit the road for the July 4 holiday. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand rose 4.7%, while demand rose 5.1% in PADD 1, rose 4.1% in PADD 2, rose 3.3% in PADD 3, rose 9.2% in PADD 4 and rose 3.3% in PADD 5.

GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists was $2.99 per gallon, up 10 cents from last week, followed by $2.89, $2.79 and $3.09.

The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $4.12 per gallon, up 7 cents from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.67 per gallon, up 5 cents from a week ago.

The median U.S. price is $2.99 per gallon, up 4 cents from last week and about 13 cents lower than the national average.

The states with the lowest average prices: Mississippi ($2.73), Louisiana ($2.75) and South Carolina ($2.79).
The states with the highest priced states: California ($4.29), Hawaii ($3.96) and Washington ($3.79).

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