(GasBuddy) For the third straight week, the nation’s average price of gasoline has declined, falling 10.2 cents from a week ago to $3.67 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 13.8 cents from a month ago and 25.0 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 4.0 cents in the last week and stands at $4.48 per gallon, 52.5 cents lower than one year ago.
“At long last, the decline in gas prices that we’ve been waiting to see has arrived, and the locomotive of falling prices has only recently started on a downhill, gaining momentum. However, some new caution signs have emerged with the recent attacks on Israel, potentially destabilizing a sensitive region. I’m hopeful the violence won’t spread, limiting the impact of these falling gas prices. Even with oil prices rising as a reaction to the attacks, I remain optimistic the national average could decline another 25-45 cents by late November, with prices potentially falling nearly triple that in California,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Even the price of diesel has seen downward pressure with oil prices plummeting last week on fears that the Fed will be forced to continue raising rates, eating into demand growth, leading a barrel of crude to drop into the mid-$80s, but we remain concerned about a potentially destabilized Middle East and the potential impact to oil prices should the region see violence escalate.”
After plummeting in recent days on worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve will have to continue raising interest rates to combat a hot jobs market, oil prices were trading much higher in very early trade on Monday after attacks on Israel raised fears that violence could spread into oil-producing nations, but the reaction is likely a knee-jerk one that may not be sustained. In early electronic trade, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up $2.53 per barrel to $85.32, still some $5 per barrel lower than last Monday’s $91.11 per barrel fetch. Brent crude oil was also surging due to the attacks on Israel, up $2.35 to $86.93 per barrel, still a drop from last week’s $92.72 per barrel fetch. All eyes will be on the Middle East in the coming days to see what might develop, and while oil production is not yet impacted, Iran’s involvement in the attacks, and being a major oil producer, could bring attacks from Israel in the days ahead. The attacks also come just after fresh evidence showed that Israel, along with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were working on a security pact in which the Saudis made known they would be willing to offer an increase in oil output should the deal move forward; however, a deal was still not in concrete when the attacks happened.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed a 2.2 million barrel drop in U.S. oil inventories, which now stand 3.5% below their year-ago level, while domestic crude oil production held at recent highs of 12.9 million barrels per day. Gasoline inventories surged by 6.5 million barrels as implied gasoline demand plummeted to just 8.01 million barrels per day, likely as station owners watch wholesale gasoline prices collapse, prompting them to hold off on new deliveries to take advantage of waiting for lower prices. Distillate inventories, meanwhile, fell 1.3 million barrels at a critical time ahead of cooler weather when heating oil demand rises, which could eventually cause a spike in prices. Refinery utilization fell to 87.3% of capacity, likely as fall maintenance activity ramps up at refineries as they do seasonal work.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy™ fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw an increase of 1.7% last week (Sun-Sat), bucking the EIA’s own implied demand readings as fall activities seem to be picking up. Broken down by PADD region, demand rose 2.6% in PADD 1, fell 0.3% in PADD 2, rose 1.4% in PADD 3, fell 2.1% in PADD 4, and rose 1.9% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.39 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.29, $3.49, $3.59, and $3.19 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.45 per gallon, down 9 cents from last week and about 22 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $5.58 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.98 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Mississippi ($3.12), Georgia ($3.12), and South Carolina ($3.17).
The states with the highest average prices: California ($5.82), Washington ($5.03), and Nevada ($4.93).
DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $4.29 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $4.39, $4.19, $4.49, and $3.99 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $4.29 per gallon, down 7 cents from last week and about 19 cents lower than the national average for diesel.
Diesel prices at the top 10% of stations in the country average $5.88 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.88 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Texas ($4.04), Mississippi ($4.07), and Louisiana ($4.12).
The states with the highest average diesel prices: California ($6.39), Hawaii ($5.74), and Washington ($5.61).