(GasBuddy) For the second straight week, the nation’s average price of gasoline has fallen, posting a decline of 3.5 cents from a week ago to $3.77 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 2.8 cents from a month ago and 1.0 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 0.7 cents in the last week and stands at $4.52 per gallon, 36.2 cents lower than one year ago.
“While this week saw average gasoline prices moving higher again in the West, most of the nation saw a noticeable decline in gasoline prices. However, with California allowing the transition to winter gasoline to begin immediately, easing supply concerns, we’re likely to see nearly the entire country see gasoline prices trend lower in the week ahead,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “You could say Christmas is coming early: California should quickly see prices fall back below $6, and once all refinery snags are addressed and maintenance complete, I would not be surprised to see prices even fall below $5 there later this year. Areas of Arizona, Las Vegas and Reno could fall back below $4 by the end of the year as well. While the trend is likely to be a strong one to the downside, small issues here and there could temporarily delay the onset of lower prices, but for now, motorists need not be in any rush: lower gas prices are on the way for every U.S. state in the weeks ahead.”
After bouncing around near and above $90 for the last few weeks, oil has not been able to maintain its upward trend as renewed fears about further interest rate hikes pour cold water on demand prospects in the months ahead. Meanwhile, OPEC+ plans to hold the line on its current production levels at a key meeting this week, according to sources. The price of oil has recently maintained the $90 per barrel mark on Saudi Arabia and Russia’s extensive production cuts, seen as eating into global oil inventories, which could pose problems in 2024, should the Fed start to ease its tight monetary policy. In early Monday trade, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up 32 cents per barrel to $91.11, up from last week’s $89.71 per barrel start. Brent crude oil was also in the black, trading 52 cents higher to $92.72 per barrel, up from last week’s $93.06 per barrel open.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude oil inventories fell another 2.2 million barrels, which stand 14 million above a year ago, while also being 4% below the five year average for this time of year. Inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, the NYMEX delivery point, fell to 22 million barrels, while the SPR also saw a surprising drop of 300,000 barrels. Gasoline inventories rose a modest 1 million barrels, and now stand 8.3 million, or nearly 4% higher than a year ago. Distillate inventories inched up 400,000 barrels and are 5.0% higher than a year ago, but with extensive refinery maintenance in PADD 1, a key region, inventories are very tight, which could still lead to a break out in diesel and heating oil prices in the weeks ahead. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail demand, rose 210,000bpd to 8.62 million, while refinery utilization dipped 2.4 percentage points as refinery maintenance season ramps up, to stand at 89.5%.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy™ fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw an increase of 0.6% last week (Sun-Sat), finally showing some signs of life after weeks of low readings. Broken down by PADD region, demand rose 0.2% in PADD 1, rose 1.9% in PADD 2, fell 0.1% in PADD 3, fell 0.6% in PADD 4, and fell 0.4% in PADD 5.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.39 per gallon, down 20 cents from last week, followed by $3.49, $3.59, $3.29, and $3.79 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.54 per gallon, down 5 cents from last week and about 23 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $5.75 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.11 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Mississippi ($3.19), Georgia ($3.20), and South Carolina ($3.26).
The states with the highest average prices: California ($6.02), Nevada ($5.11), and Washington ($5.09).
DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $4.29 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $4.39, $4.49, $4.19, and $3.99 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $4.36 per gallon, down 3 cents 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 $5.93 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.92 per gallon.