(GASBUDDY) For the eighth straight week, the national average price of gasoline has risen, posting a 1.6 cent per gallon gain from a week ago to $3.07 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 3.7 cents higher than a month ago and 98 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 1.4 cents in the last week and stands at $3.21 per gallon.
“We’ve seen the national average gas price continue to inch higher as oil prices have reached $71 per barrel, the highest since 2018, and as gasoline demand continues to rebound,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Strong gasoline demand as states and cities reopen will likely continue to be a major factor keeping gas prices elevated, even as oil production climbs in the months ahead. With most additional supply being gobbled up very quickly, gas prices will likely stay at elevated levels for the foreseeable future. Motorists can continue to fight the high gas prices by remembering to shop around each time they get below half a tank.”
The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil continued to rise in early Monday trade, and was last fetching $71.63 per barrel, over $2 per barrel higher than last week Monday’s $69.41 per barrel tally. Brent crude oil was also pushing higher, last trading at $73.29 per barrel, up from $71.67 a week ago. Concerns continue to mount that demand may outpace supply as the global economy recovers from Covid-19 and more consumers see some return to normalcy, 16 months after the global pandemic began. Meanwhile, the oil sector has been hit by disinvestment as countries seek to cap emissions, leaving oil companies with fewer investors and less ability to quickly raise oil output.
According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count rose by 5 to 461, and was 182 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count soared by 16 to 93, or 72 more than a year ago.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES
Crude oil inventories fell sharply for a second straight week, falling 5.2 million barrels, now about 4% below the five year average for this time of year. Gasoline inventories surged nearly 7 million barrels and are at the five year average, while distillate inventories also saw a large gain of 4.4 million barrels, but are 5% lower than the five year average. According to the EIA, implied gasoline demand plunged 666,000 barrels, in stark contrast to the retail gasoline volumes GasBuddy has witnessed. EIA’s implied demand can at times be a lackluster proxy for retail gallons flowing as EIA data captures gasoline’s movement to retail pumps, but not the actual gallons sold at retail. Refiners raised output to nearly seasonal norms for this time of year, rising 2.6 percentage points to 91.3% of capacity. Overall petroleum inventories are down 10% from a year ago.
According to a new dataset being released by GasBuddy, U.S. gasoline demand set a new Covid high, rising for the fourth straight week. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand rose 1.1%, while demand rose 0.9% in PADD 1, rose 2.3% in PADD 2, rose 0.6% in PADD 3, fell 0.6% in PADD 4 and fell 0.4% in PADD 5.
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, up 1 cent from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.62 per gallon, up four cents from a week ago.
The median U.S. price is $2.95 per gallon, up four cents from last week and about 12 cents lower than the national average.
The states with the lowest average prices: Louisiana ($2.68), Oklahoma ($2.70) and Mississippi ($2.71).
The states with the highest priced states: California ($4.21), Hawaii ($3.90) and Nevada ($3.65).