(GasBuddy) For the eighth consecutive week, the nation’s average gas price has fallen, declining 15.8 cents from a week ago to $4.01 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 stations nationwide. The national average is down 68.7 cents from a month ago but 83.6 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 13.1 cents in the last week and stands at $5.14 per gallon.

“The national average is poised to fall back under $4 per gallon as early as today as we see the decline in gas prices enter its eighth straight week. By the end of the week, one hundred thousand stations will be at $3.99 or less,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Diesel continues to decline as well, and will likely soon fall under $5 per gallon. We’ve even seen nearly a dozen stations in low-priced states fall under $2.99, a welcome return to some lucky motorists in areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa. The groundwork is laid for a ninth week of decline, with areas of the West Coast soon ditching the $5 per gallon average. While I’m upbeat the drop can continue for another couple weeks, we’re starting to see some activity in the tropics, which may increase risk of potential disruption.”

OIL PRICES
Oil markets have continued to struggle under the weight of a Federal Reserve that’s likely to continue raising interest rates at an aggressive pace to tame inflation, especially after last week’s jobs report showed more jobs were added in July than expected. In early Monday trade, oil markets were broadly lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil down $1.46 to $87.55 per barrel, over a $6 loss from last Monday’s $93.96 level. Brent crude oil was also in the red, down $1.62 per barrel to $93.30, an $8 per barrel loss from last Monday’s $101.31 per barrel fetch. Oil prices now stand at their lowest level since Russia invaded Ukraine, and could continue to see pressure from a slowing global economy, which is likely to erode demand for oil.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was down by 3 rigs to 764, and was 273 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count was down 1 rig to 203, but still 50 more rigs than a year ago.

OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
According to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly report, U.S. oil inventories rose by some 4.5 million barrels last week but were nearly 3% below the year ago level. The SPR declined by 4.7 million barrels, 24.4% below its year ago level and the lowest level since 1985. Domestic crude oil production was unchanged at 12.1 million barrels per day, while gasoline inventories rose by 200,000 barrels and were 1.6% below last year. Distillate inventories fell by 2.4 million barrels and are down 21% from year ago levels. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for consumption, fell 704,000bpd last week to 8.54 million, while GasBuddy data showed an increase to some 9.25 million barrels per day. Refinery utilization fell by 1.2 percentage points, led by a sizable drop from PADD 4 and PADD 5 refiners. Total oil supply is now down 210 million barrels, or 11.1%, from a year ago.

FUEL DEMAND
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy card, U.S. retail gasoline demand barely changed last week (Sun-Sat), rising just 0.01%. Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 0.9% in PADD 1, rose 0.2% in PADD 2, rose 0.9% in PADD 3, fell 0.8% in PADD 4 and was unchanged in PADD 5.

GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.69 per gallon, down 30 cents from last week, followed by $3.99, $3.79, $3.59 and $3.89 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.87 per gallon, down 12 cents from last week and about 14 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $5.26 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.32 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Texas ($3.51), Oklahoma ($3.54) and South Carolina ($3.56).
The states with the highest average prices: California ($5.39), Hawaii ($5.32) and Alaska ($4.97).