For the fifth straight week, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline has fallen as gasoline supply continues to recover after Hurricane Harvey. The average fell 1.6 cents in the last week to $2.456 per gallon according to price-tracker GasBuddy.
“For the fifth straight week, the national average gasoline price has moved lower. Though not all states saw decreases in the last week, we nonetheless saw the nation’s average price per gallon fall as we continue into the peak of fall, which is hardly a surprise,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “While prices nationally remain an average of 20 cents higher than a year ago, we’ll likely continue to see improvement at the pump into a sixth week as supply outpaces demand and gasoline inventories continue their slow recovery as we soon close out an active hurricane season.”
Helping push prices down yet again was more data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that highlighted U.S. refiners ran at 89.2% of their capacity, up 1.1% from a week earlier. The rise helped gasoline inventories rise 2.5 million barrels, yet they remain nearly 2% lower than a year ago.
Inventories of distillates, including heavier fuels like diesel, jet fuel and heating oil, fell 1.5 million barrels, keeping upward pressure on prices of such fuels.
Gasoline prices decreased in a majority of states while rising in the Great Lakes due a regional phenomenon called price cycling in which prices drop quickly due to price wars but then suddenly spike once margins deteriorate to losses.
At U.S. pumps, states with the top ten price movements in the last week: Michigan (+15 cents), Ohio (+12 cents), Indiana (+10 cents), Georgia (-7 cents), Tennessee (-6 cents), Texas (-6 cents), South Carolina (-6 cents), Florida (-6 cents), New Jersey (-5 cents) and Virginia (-5 cents).
Leading states with the lowest average gas prices: Missouri ($2.18), Arkansas ($2.19), Oklahoma ($2.21), Delaware ($2.23), Mississippi ($2.24), South Carolina ($2.25), Louisiana ($2.25), Alabama ($2.26), Kansas ($2.27) and Tennessee ($2.28).
States with the highest average gas prices: California ($3.09), Hawaii ($3.08), Alaska ($3.06), Washington ($2.90), Nevada ($2.81), Connecticut ($2.72), Oregon ($2.72), New York ($2.67), Pennsylvania ($2.67), and Idaho ($2.66).
The national average is likely to decline again this week as relief continues post-Harvey. The Great Lakes, which saw a large uptick, will likely lead the nation this week with declines. Oil prices, however, remain elevated near $52 per barrel due to feuding in Iraq and continued talk that last November’s oil production cuts may be extended by OPEC and non-OPEC countries.