(GasBuddy) For the second straight week, the nation’s average gas price is up, rising 6.9 cents from a week ago to $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 down 1 cent from a month ago and $1.29 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 22.2 cents in the last week and stands at $5.29 per gallon.

“Gasoline prices have continued their rally in the last week with oil prices sustaining higher levels, but the real story has been diesel fuel, which has skyrocketed to its highest level ever seen. Diesel is now $1 per gallon or more in many areas compared to gasoline,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “The meteoric rise in diesel prices is likely to continue for the first half of the week at least, while gasoline prices could continue to see a slow but steady rise. For now, the rising cost of diesel will surely be felt in the grocery store, hardware store or on your next flight as jet fuel prices accelerate, leading to a continued rise in inflation likely to ripple across the economy.”

OIL PRICES

Continuing the recent theme of volatility, oil prices were sharply lower in early Monday trade. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down $3.69 per barrel to $101.00, up from last week’s $97.42 per barrel level after China started easing Covid restrictions, re-opening some of their largest cities to limited travel, boosting oil demand and price over the last week. Brent crude was down $3.54 per barrel in early trade to $103.50, a slight recovery from last week’s $101.72 per barrel level. In addition, oil prices were higher last Wednesday after the EIA’s weekly data showed U.S. refined product inventories continue to decline.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was up 3 rigs to 698, and was 258 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count was down by 6 to 95, or 44 more than a year ago.

OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES

Data from the Energy Information Administration showed a small 700,000 barrel build in oil inventories, at the expense of yet another decline in the SPR, which fell nearly 3 million barrels. Oil inventories now stand 16% below year ago levels, and 16% below the five year average for this time of year. Domestic crude oil production held at 11.9 million barrels, still over 1 million barrels per day below pre-Covid levels. Gasoline inventories fell 1.6 million barrels and are 4% below the five year average for this time of year, while distillate inventories (diesel, jet fuel, heating oil) fell 1.4 million barrels and stand 21% below the five year average for this time of year. Implied gasoline demand rose 129,000bpd to 8.74 million, while refinery utilization fell 0.7 percentage points to 90.3%.

FUEL DEMAND

According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight rise last week (Sun-Sat). Nationally, weekly gasoline demand rose 0.4% from the prior week, while demand rose 0.9% in PADD 1, fell 1.1% in PADD 2, rose 0.9% in PADD 3, rose 1.8% in PADD 4, and rose 1.8% in PADD 5.

GAS PRICE TRENDS

The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.99 per gallon, up 10 cents from last week, followed by $3.89, $3.79, $4.09, and $4.19 rounding out the five most common prices.

The median U.S. price is $3.99 per gallon, up 10 cents from last week and about 18 cents lower than the national average.

The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.57/gal, while the bottom 10% average $3.63/gal.

The states with the lowest average prices: Georgia ($3.70), Arkansas ($3.79), and Kansas ($3.79).

The states with the highest prices: California ($5.72), Hawaii ($5.21), and Nevada ($5.05).