(GaBuddy) For the second straight week, the nation’s average price of gasoline has climbed, rising 8.8 cents from a week ago to $3.57 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 13.0 cents from a month ago but 52.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 1.6 cents in the last week and stands at $4.15 per gallon, 88.9 cents lower than one year ago.
“The national average price of gasoline has continued its relatively slow climb, with 44 states seeing average gasoline prices climb over the last week. Prices are being pulled up not only due to continued increases in demand as temperatures warm, but also pressure from oil prices, which have risen over 20% in the last month, primarily driven by OPEC’s surprise decision a week ago to cut oil production,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Expect the upward trend to continue through much of the rest of spring, but once the transition to summer gasoline and refinery maintenance are behind us, April and May jumps could bring June slumps. However, for diesel, the news continues to be good, with the national average price of diesel continuing to drop, now at its narrowest difference to gasoline in over 13 months.”
Over the last few weeks, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) has rallied by over 20% from a low of $65 per barrel to back over $80 last week after OPEC+’s surprise decision to piece together a 1.15 million barrel per day production cut, and as the banking crisis has eased. In early trade, WTI was giving up some of the recent rally, trading down 84 cents per barrel to $79.86, while Brent crude was down a similar 85 cents to $84.27 per barrel. China’s economic gains have been slower than anticipated, also helping to stifle recent sentiment of a stronger rebound in global oil demand. However, with temperatures beginning to warm in the U.S., boosting demand, and refineries finishing seasonal maintenance, oil demand is likely to start accelerating, and further gains are certainly possible in the weeks ahead.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed a fourth straight week of large inventory declines. Oil inventories fell another 3.7 million barrels, while the SPR also saw a 400,000 barrel decline, and further releases are likely as part of Congress’ previous agreements to draw down the SPR. Domestic crude oil production held at 12.2 million barrels per day, now just 400,000 barrels higher than a year ago. Gasoline inventories plummeted 4.1 million barrels, led by a substantial 2.6 million barrel decline for the East Coast (PADD 1), and are now down 14.2 million barrels from last year. Distillate inventories fell 3.6 million barrels last week, and stand 12% below the five year seasonal average. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail demand, surged to 9.3 million barrels per day, while refinery utilization fell 0.7 percentage points from the previous week.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a fall of 3.1% last week (Sun-Sat). Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 4.1% in PADD 1, fell 1.2% in PADD 2, fell 5.6% in PADD 3, rose 0.3% in PADD 4, and fell 3.3% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.49 per gallon, up 10 cents from last week, followed by $3.39, $3.29, $3.59, and $3.19 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.48 per gallon, up 9 cents from last week and about 9 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.68 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.09 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Mississippi ($3.11), Arkansas ($3.16), and Kansas ($3.18).
The states with the highest average prices: California ($4.82), Hawaii ($4.74), and Arizona ($4.33).
DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $4.09, $3.89, $3.79, and $4.19 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $3.99 per gallon, unchanged 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 $5.18 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.48 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Texas ($3.67), Oklahoma ($3.70), and Kansas ($3.83).
The states with the highest average diesel prices: Hawaii ($5.90), California ($5.27), and Maine ($4.95).