(GasBuddy) For the first time in two weeks, the nation’s average price of gasoline has declined, falling 4.2 cents from a week ago to $3.40 per gallon Sunday 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 is up 4.3 cents from a month ago but 82.9 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 5.6 cents in the last week and stands at $4.25 per gallon, 82.4 cents lower than one year ago.
“The broad concern over recent failures of the U.S. and global banking system has put enough downward pressure on oil prices that we saw a reprieve in rising gasoline prices in the national average last week. But, it may be temporary in nature, and is unlikely to be a long lasting trend,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “While California and areas of the West Coast saw some moderation in price, supply challenges amidst the transition to summer gasoline have led to sharp price increases in Arizona, and other markets saw varying impacts at the gas pump over the last week. Should the outlook for the banking sector improve, we could again see gasoline prices race higher, while continued or additional distress could raise the possibility of a broader economic slowdown, keeping gasoline prices in check. Overall, there are a lot of possibilities.”
After finding some support in late Sunday electronic trading on the heels of the UBS acquisition of Credit Suisse, oil markets started the week in the red yet again, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil off 83 cents per barrel to $65.91, a nearly $10 per barrel decline in a week, or 12.5%, from last Monday’s $75.43 per barrel start. Brent crude oil was also in the red in early Monday trade, down 70 cents to $72.27 per barrel, just off a $10 weekly drop from last Monday’s $81.51 per barrel level. Much of the recent weakness in crude oil markets appears to be associated with the fallout from the banking sector after high level takeovers by U.S. authorities of Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank, and now UBS’s Sunday night takeover of competitor Credit Suisse. The anxiety has mounted that the banking failures could undermine deposits and lead to economic fallout and a broader slowdown.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed a small 1.6 million barrel rise in oil inventories, while domestic production held at 12.2 million barrels. The SPR was unchanged again, standing 35% below last year’s level. Gasoline inventories fell 2.1 million barrels as maintenance and the transition to summer gasoline purged winter-spec fuel, while distillate inventories fell 2.5 million barrels. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail purchases, rose 32,000 barrels per day to 8.59 million, while refinery utilization recovered 2.2 percentage points to 88.2%.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a solid rebound of 3.0% last week (Sun-Sat) as spring break travel likely boosted demand. Broken down by PADD region, demand rose 0.4% in PADD 1, rose 5.6% in PADD 2, rose 2.8% in PADD 3, rose 4.7% in PADD 4, and rose 4.1% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.19 per gallon, down 10 cents from last week, followed by $3.29, $3.09, $3.49, and $2.99 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.29 per gallon, unchanged from last week and about 11 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.59 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.87 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Oklahoma ($2.90), Mississippi ($2.96), and Texas ($3.00).
The states with the highest average prices: Hawaii ($4.80), California ($4.79), and Nevada ($4.23).
DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.89, $4.09, $4.19, and $4.29 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $4.09 per gallon, down 10 cents from last week and about 16 cents lower than the national average for diesel.
Diesel prices at the top 10% of stations in the country average $5.32 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.56 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Oklahoma ($3.70), Texas ($3.75), and Kansas ($3.87).
The states with the highest average diesel prices: Hawaii ($5.94), California ($5.46), and Maine ($5.13).