Energy Business

National Gas Prices Continue Their Slow Slide

The national average price of gasoline has declined for the second straight week, posting a drop of 0.7 cents over the last week to $2.63 per gallon, according to industry analysts at GasBuddy. Again, the West Coast appears to be leading the average lower, with most of the price drops occurring in this region. Separately, the average price of diesel fell 1.1 cents to $2.98 per gallon.

Over the past week, oil prices gave up little ground, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil opening 92 cents per barrel lower Monday morning, a drop from last week’s $53.47 per barrel. Brent crude oil was seen down $1 per barrel early Monday, down from a week ago by around 75 cents per barrel, likely both moving lower thanks to a large increase in oil inventories last week.

Data from the Energy Information Administration showed oil inventories surging nearly 10 million barrels as refined products inventories moved lower as refinery maintenance season continues. Gasoline inventories fell 2.6 million barrels, while distillate inventories slumped 3.8 million barrels. Both gasoline and distillate inventories stand under their year-ago levels.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, commented:

While the national average was overall little changed in the last week, few states saw such mundane moves with average price changes all over the map. The Pacific Northwest saw prices rising as refinery maintenance and overall supply tightness in the area pushed prices notably higher in Oregon and Washington, while California saw additional relief after myriad refinery issues pushed them up weeks ago. Gas prices also cycled higher in Florida and throughout the Great Lakes while inching lower in the South and East. While we await any evidence of a trade deal signed between China and the U.S. we remain in a period of overall volatility, at a time of year we’re accustomed to seeing prices fall. Expect this roller coaster to continue. I can’t remember an autumn where we saw so many factors that could impact prices so quickly and in such different directions.

Gas prices across the country were all over the place, as they were last week, with trends varying by region. California saw amongst the most notable declines as prices continue to slide after having myriad refinery issues sorted out in the state. The most common gas price across the country was $2.39 per gallon, the next most common price was $2.29, followed by $2.49, identical to a week ago.

The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations was $3.99 per gallon, a two-cent drop from a week ago, while the lowest 10% averaged $2.16, a three-cent rise. The median U.S. price was $2.47, the same as it was a week ago, some 16 cents under the national average.