(GasBuddy) After holding steady last week, the nation’s average gas price has returned to decline, falling 4.3 cents from a week ago to $3.33 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 down 17.6 cents from a month ago and 26.3 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 7.7 cents in the last week and stands at $4.38 per gallon.
“The national average has resumed its decline after a pause last week as oil and wholesale gasoline prices fell on worrisome inflation figures showing the Fed likely to ramp up rates to slow inflation,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Some nine out of 10 states saw declines over the last week, so the drops are showing up for most across the country, with the exception of the West Coast as the transition to summer blends continues, and in the Great Lakes, where prices cycled last week but have now resumed declining. For the weeks ahead, tradition tells us to expect prices to move up eventually, but that could be at least be partially offset by inflationary data that continues to be hotter than expected, leading to anxiety that the Fed will boost interest rates and cooling the economy and oil demand considerably.”
With inflation figures running above expectations, there are renewed concerns about the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates, perhaps even more aggressively, which is poised to choke oil production in the world’s largest consuming nation. On the heels of continued hotter-than-expected inflation, crude oil prices have given up some of their gains, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil falling 22 cents in early Monday trade to $76.10 per barrel, nearly $3 per barrel lower than last Monday’s $79.08 per barrel start. Brent crude oil was also trading lower to start the week, off 30 cents to $82.86 per barrel, also nearly $3 lower than last Monday’s $85.71 per barrel fetch. With Covid cases continuing to surge in China, hopes for quick rebound in oil demand there have grown muted.
According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was down 7 rigs to 753 but was 103 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count fell 4 to 254 and was 20 rigs higher than a year ago.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed another large 7.6 million barrel rise in U.S. oil inventories while the SPR was yet again unchanged. Domestic crude oil production continued to hold at 12.3 million barrels per day, but could reach 12.4 million in the next week or two. Gasoline inventories saw a decline of 1.9 million barrels, typical as the transition to summer gasoline begins and refiners purge winter-spec gasoline. Distillate inventories rose 2.7 million barrels and are 12% below the five year seasonal average. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail consumption, surged 636,000 barrels per day to 8.91 million, a figure likely overstated by the EIA’s loose methodology. Refinery utilization slipped 0.6 percentage points as maintenance season continues to accelerate, and could continue to give up ground in the weeks ahead.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand fell 0.5% last week (Sun-Sat) for the first time since mid-January, partially aided by several winter storms that hit various areas. Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 0.4% in PADD 1, fell 0.9% in PADD 2, rose 1.5% in PADD 3, rose 2.1% in PADD 4, and fell 4.5% 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 $2.99, $3.09, $3.29, and $3.39 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.19 per gallon, down 8 cents from last week and about 14 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.57 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.77 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Texas ($2.87), Mississippi ($2.92), and Oklahoma ($2.93).
The states with the highest average prices: Hawaii ($4.83), California ($4.72), and Nevada ($4.20).
DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $4.09, $4.29, $4.39, and $4.19 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $4.29 per gallon, about 9 cents lower than the national average for diesel.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $5.44 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.65 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Oklahoma ($3.76), Texas ($3.83), and Wisconsin ($3.95).
The states with the highest average prices: Hawaii ($5.96), California ($5.59), and Maine ($5.32).