(GasBuddy) For the fifth straight week, the nation’s average price of gasoline has dropped, falling 5.2 cents from a week ago to $3.50 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 33.2 cents from a month ago and 26.8 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 3.8 cents in the last week and stands at $4.48 per gallon, 82 cents lower than one year ago.
“As air temperatures trend downward as we progress into fall, gasoline prices have seen another week of their own seasonal fall. The national average is on the cusp of falling to the lowest level since March, something that could happen this week,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Demand for gasoline continues to weaken as we get closer to seeing the first snow flurries fly across some areas of the country, and against the backdrop of winter, there isn’t as much desire to get out. Coupled with cheaper winter gasoline and refinery issues that have faded into the rearview thanks to the drop in demand, gasoline prices have been weakening even as oil prices have climbed. This puts pressure on refineries as margins flatten and gasoline becomes the unwanted byproduct of producing other products like diesel and jet fuel, which command a higher price than gasoline. However, there’s only so much refineries can do, because they must produce gasoline in high quantities to get those premium barrels. For now, that trend will likely mean further declines in the weeks ahead, before prices bottom out between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
With a war on words spooking oil markets, volatility has returned in full force, pushing oil to touch $90 per barrel last week before declining again back under the key level, as tensions ease and relief allowed by Israel to flow into Gaza, defusing a contentious situation. In early Monday trade, a barrel of WTI crude oil was down 17 cents to $87.91, still a $2 gain from last Monday’s $87.61 per barrel fetch. Brent crude was also in the red, off 10 cents per barrel to $92.06 in early trade, over a $2 rise from last week’s $90.64 start. Trading volumes have also backed off after rising early on after the attack on Israel, but with the November contract soon rolling to December, the lighter volume may revert.
OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed a substantial 4.5 million barrel drop in U.S. crude oil inventories, while the SPR remained unchanged from the previous week. Gasoline inventories fell 2.4 million barrels, while distillates added their own 3.2 million barrel drop last week as total petroleum inventories fell a measured 11.9 million barrels. Refinery utilization increased slightly to 86.1% as maintenance season begins to fade and units come back online. Implied gasoline demand, EIA’s proxy for retail gasoline demand, rose 362,000 barrels to 8.9 million barrels per day.
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy™ fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a decrease of 1.8% for the week ending October 21 (Sun-Sat). Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 1.6% in PADD 1, fell 2.4% in PADD 2, fell 2.9% in PADD 3, fell 5.9% in PADD 4, and rose 1.1% in PADD 5. GasBuddy models U.S. gasoline demand at 8.70 million barrels per day.
GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.29 per gallon, up 10 cents from last week, followed by $2.99, $3.19, $3.09, and $3.39 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.29 per gallon, down 5 cents from last week and about 21 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $5.22 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.85 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Georgia ($2.97), Mississippi ($2.99), and Texas ($3.01).
The states with the highest average prices: California ($5.42), Hawaii ($4.77), and Washington ($4.74).
DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $4.29 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $4.39, $3.99, $4.19, and $4.49 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $4.35 per gallon, up 8 cents from last week and about 13 cents lower than the national average for diesel.
Diesel prices at the top 10% of stations in the country average $5.72 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.84 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Texas ($3.98), Mississippi ($3.99), and Georgia ($4.04).
The states with the highest average diesel prices: California ($6.22), Hawaii ($5.74), and Washington ($5.48).