(GasBuddy) For the fifth straight week, the nation’s average gas price has gone up, rising 11.0 cents from a week ago to $4.57 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 up 45.4 cents from a month ago and $1.55 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 1.7 cents in the last week and stands at $5.53 per gallon.
“Gasoline prices surged over the last week to new record highs, but have finally started to slow their rise with diesel also finally cooling off,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “With more Americans planning to hit the road for Memorial Day this year compared to last, prices will be over $1.50 per gallon higher than last year. Though, prices are appearing to slow down, for now. While the coast isn’t clear yet, and prices will be at their highest Memorial Day level ever, I’m hopeful that we could avoid a dreaded national average of $5 per gallon this year. Whether or not we’re able to depends on Americans cutting demand in the face of sky high prices.”
Crude oil prices started the new week with gains, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil up $1.24 to $111.52 per barrel, up from last Monday’s $109.85 fetch. Brent crude oil was up $1.37 per barrel in early Monday trade to $113.92, also a gain from last Monday’s $110.14 level. Oil has seen slight upward moves as China lockdowns have eased, boosting demand for petroleum, while the start of the U.S. summer driving season is just days away, and could prevent oil from seeing any significant downturns.
According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was up 14 rigs to 728, and was 273 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count was unchanged at 88, or 30 more than a year ago.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCT INVENTORIES
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude oil inventories fell 3.4 million barrels last week, while the SPR fell 5 million barrels. Both are roughly 14% below their year ago level and could continue to decline as the U.S. summer driving season begins. Gasoline inventories fell by nearly 5 million barrels and are 8% below the five year average for this time of year, while implied gasoline demand rose 325,000 barrels per day to 9.03 million. Distillate inventories finally saw some improvement, rising 1.2 million barrels, but remain 22% below the five year average for this time of year. Refinery utilization jumped 1.8 percentage points to 91.8%, while gasoline production fell to 9.6 million barrels per day and distillate production fell to 4.9 million barrels per day. Domestic U.S. oil production rose 100,000 barrels per day to 11.9 million barrels per day.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight fall last week (Sun-Sat). Nationally, weekly gasoline fell 0.6% from the prior week, while demand rose 1.0% in PADD 1, fell 2.3% in PADD 2, fell 0.5% 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 $4.49 per gallon, up 30 cents from last week, followed by $4.39, $4.29, $4.19, and $4.09 rounding out the five most common prices.
The median U.S. price is $4.39 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 $4.89/gal, while the bottom 10% average $4.00/gal.
The states with the lowest average prices: Oklahoma ($3.99), Kansas ($4.03), and Arkansas ($4.09).
The states with the highest prices: California ($6.04), Hawaii ($5.34), and Nevada ($5.21).