(GasBuddy) For the fourth consecutive week, the nation’s average price of gasoline has dropped, falling 11.3 cents from a week ago to $3.55 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 29.9 cents from a month ago and 30.9 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 5.8 cents in the last week and stands at $4.48 per gallon, 55.2 cents lower than one year ago.
“The downward momentum has indeed gained steam, with the national average declining over the last week with again virtually every village, town, city, region, and state seeing gasoline prices fall—with the added bonus that diesel prices have also declined. While the price of oil jumped some 5% last week, I remain steadfast that additional declines are coming to gasoline prices the way the situation stands now but remain cautious that this depends on actions that are not foreseeable, mainly the conflict in the Middle East,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “For now, the national average is likely to soon fall to its lowest level in six months. Some areas of the Great Lakes could see a price cycle in the next few weeks, which is typical after long declines as stations often pass along the drops there faster than anywhere else. I believe the national average still has some 15-35 cents of declining to do the way things stand now.”
It has been a volatile week for the price of oil, shifting directions as suddenly as the wind as the situation in the Middle East escalates, as Israel prepares for a movement into Gaza, with last Friday seeing the largest single-day rise in the price of oil since April, close to 5%. While the oil market has cooled slightly since then, it certainly could see more activity again in the week ahead. In early Monday electronic trading, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 8 cents to $87.61 per barrel, a $2 gain from last Monday’s $85.32 start, while Brent crude oil was last down 25 cents to $90.64 per barrel, up over $3 from last Monday’s $86.93 per barrel fetch. As the situation continues to unfold, markets will be watching interactions between Iran as well as responses from Israel, and while all eyes have been on those escalations, Saudi Arabia has put an end for now to a possible weapons and security pact between the U.S. and Israel.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. oil inventories surging 10.2 million barrels, while domestic production surged 300,000 bpd to a new record of 13.2 million barrels per day. Gasoline inventories fell some 1.3 million barrels, but are 7.7% higher than a year ago, and 1% above the five-year average for this time of year. Distillate inventories fell 1.8 million barrels and are now down about 11% compared to the five-year average for this time of year, with refineries operating at 85.7% utilization, signaling that maintenance season remains quite active. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail consumption, rose 567,000 bpd to 8.58 million, a number more in line with GasBuddy’s demand expectations as of late.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy™ fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw an increase of 0.5% for the week ending October 14 (Sun-Sat). Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 0.0% in PADD 1, rose 0.6% in PADD 2, rose 0.4% in PADD 3, fell 1.0% in PADD 4, and fell 2.8% in PADD 5. GasBuddy models U.S. gasoline demand at 8.85 million barrels per day.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.19 per gallon, down 20 cents from last week, followed by $3.29, $3.39, $2.99, and $3.09 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.34 per gallon, down 11 cents from last week and about 22 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $5.39 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.86 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Texas ($3.03), Georgia ($3.04), and Mississippi ($3.04).
The states with the highest average prices: California ($5.60), Washington ($4.87), and Nevada ($4.76).
DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $4.29 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $4.19, $4.39, $3.99, and $4.09 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $4.27 per gallon, down 2 cents from last week and about 21 cents lower than the national average for diesel.
Diesel prices at the top 10% of stations in the country average $5.82 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.80 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Texas ($3.94), Mississippi ($4.02), and Louisiana ($4.07).
The states with the highest average diesel prices: California ($6.29), Hawaii ($5.70)