(GasBuddy) For the seventh straight week, the national average price of gasoline has risen, posting a mere 0.6 cent per gallon gain from a week ago to $3.04 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 16.8 cents higher than a month ago and $1.17 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 1.6 cents in the last week and stands at $3.20 per gallon.
“We’re entering our fourth straight week with the national average above the key $3 per gallon level. While gas prices haven’t broken past the low $3s, they have also failed to decline much from their peak as demand for gasoline continues to push higher as the summer driving season is underway,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “According to GasBuddy data, gasoline demand last week eclipsed the prior week, when millions of Americans were gearing up for Memorial Day travel. It’s not an easy feat, but highlights that economic conditions are ripe for continued growth in demand, contributing to prices holding at high levels. As OPEC has maintained a slow but steady increase in oil production, that additional production is quickly being gobbled up by a recovering global economy. Our current gas prices likely won’t change much by July 4, but remain stubbornly high, barring any major curveballs to supply and demand.”
The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil broke the $70 per barrel mark in overnight trading, but gave up gains and was down slightly in early Monday trade. As of presstime, WTI crude was down 21 cents per barrel to $69.41, just slightly higher than last Monday’s tally of $68.85. Brent crude oil was down 22 cents to $71.67 in early Monday trade, up only slightly from last Monday’s $71.09 level. Global crude oil demand continues to grow as nations recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and life slowly returns to some sense of normal.
According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count fell by 1 to 456, but was 172 higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count soared by 15 to 77, or 56 more than a year ago.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES
Crude oil inventories plunged last week as refiners continued to ramp up operations as demand continues to rise. Crude inventories fell 5.1 million barrels and stands 3% lower than the five year average for this time of year, while domestic production fell 200,000 barrels. Gasoline inventories rose 1.5 million barrels but stands 3% lower than the five year average range for this time of year, while distillate inventories jumped 3.7 million barrels. Refinery utilization jumped to its highest level since the pandemic started, rising 1.7% to 88.7%. Implied gasoline demand fell 333,000 barrels, according to the EIA.
According to a new dataset being released by GasBuddy, U.S. gasoline demand continued to advance as the summer driving season gets underway. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand rose 0.2%, while demand rose 1.4% in PADD 1, fell 0.5% in PADD 2, fell 2.5% in PADD 3, rose 4.4% in PADD 4 and rose 0.4% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists was $2.89 per gallon, down 10 cents from last week, followed by $2.99, $2.79 and $3.09.
The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $4.04 per gallon, up 3 cents from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.58 per gallon, unchanged from a week ago.
The median U.S. price is $2.91 per gallon, down a penny from last week and about 13 cents lower than the national average.
The states with the lowest average prices: Texas ($2.67), Louisiana ($2.68) and Mississippi ($2.69).
The states with the highest priced states: California ($4.20), Hawaii ($3.90) and Nevada ($3.65).