(GasBuddy) For the second straight week, the nation’s average gas price has fallen, declining 5.4 cents from a week ago and stands at $4.17 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 is up 25.5 cents from a month ago and $1.31 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 3.6 cents in the last week and stands at $5.08 per gallon.

“Oil prices fell last week as Covid cases in China surged, prompting restrictions on movements and hurting oil demand. Meanwhile, President Biden’s announcement that the U.S. would be releasing 180 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve caused an even further decline in oil, leading gas prices in nearly all areas of the country to fall over the last week,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “So long as oil prices remain under $100 per barrel and there’s no escalations in Russia’s war on Ukraine, we may be poised to see gas prices decline again this week as the U.S. and other countries try to raise oil supply to tip prices lower.”

OIL PRICES

With President Biden’s surprise announcement that the nation would release 180 million barrels of crude oil last week, the price of oil fell under $100 in the second half of the week. In addition, a jump in Covid cases in China sparked renewed concerns about demand destruction. In early Monday trade, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up $2.39/bbl to $101.66, still about $1 lower than it was a week ago as it was in the midst of a $7 decline then. Brent crude oil was also up in early Monday trade by $1.96 to $106.35 per barrel, just a touch higher than last Monday’s $106.13 per barrel print. Oil prices have remained quite volatile as Russia’s war on Ukraine and global events change by the moment.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was up 3 rigs to 673, and was 243 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count was down by 16 to 124, or 55 more than a year ago.

OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES

According to the Energy Information Administration, last week saw a 3.4 million barrel decline in crude oil inventories, which now stand over 18% lower than a year ago and are 14% below the five year average for this time of year. The nation’s SPR fell 3 million barrels and is down 11% from last year. Gasoline inventories rose by 800,000 barrels and stand about 4% above the year ago level and are right at average for this time of year. Distillate inventories rose 1.4 million barrels, but stand about 31 million barrels, or 21.2%, lower than a year ago. Refinery utilization rose 1 percentage point to 92.1%, while implied gasoline demand fell 138,000 barrels per day from the prior week. Total petroleum inventories stand at 1.139 billion barrels, about 12% lower than a year ago.

GAS PRICE TRENDS

The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.89, $4.09, $3.79, and $4.19 rounding out the five most common prices.

The median U.S. price is $3.99 per gallon, down 20 cents from last week and about 18 cents lower than the national average.

The states with the lowest average prices: Oklahoma ($3.73), Kansas ($3.75), and Arkansas ($3.76).

The states with the highest prices: California ($5.86), Nevada ($5.20), and Hawaii ($5.15).