Slump at the Gas Pump Continues Before Summer Driving, Down In 49 States

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Gasoline pump prices continue to drop across the United States as the nation approaches the Memorial Day holiday and the unofficial start to the summer driving season. Over 5,100 U.S. gas stations are now selling gasoline for less than $2 a gallon, more than double the number selling at that price only a week ago.

The national average price Monday morning was $2.302, down more than 4 cents a gallon week over week, and down nearly 8 cents compared with a month ago. Compared with the same date last year, prices are up about a dime.

Refineries continue to produce more gasoline even as demand has cooled. Weaker crude oil prices are weighing on pump prices as well. GasBuddy’s senior petroleum analyst, Patrick DeHaan, noted:

Gasoline prices in much of the country are eroding at a time of year when such a downward fall is anything but par for the course. Prices now lay on the fringe of falling under the same point as last year as this year’s usual spring rally has been the weakest in recent memory. Factors playing a role: weak demand and strong production, which continue to weigh on OPEC’s output cut last November designed to cause prices to rise. The recent drop in crude oil is posing a much more serious threat and OPEC must soon decide how much market share it will sacrifice to keep oil prices higher – clearly the last cut just isn’t enough.

Gas prices dropped in 49 states over the last week, compared with drops in 42 states in the prior week. The three states experiencing the largest decreases were Ohio (down 9.5 cents a gallon), Michigan (down 9 cents), and Indiana (down 8.8 cents). Only Alaska showed a week-over-week increase, and that a small 1.1 cent per gallon rise.

The five states with the lowest prices are Oklahoma ($2.038), South Carolina ($2.041 a gallon), Tennessee ($2.103, Mississippi ($2.1137), and) Alabama ($2.122). States posting the highest prices are California ($2.966 a gallon), Washington ($2.886), Hawaii ($2.792), Oregon ($2.774), and Alaska ($2.737).

WTI crude oil for June delivery traded up about 0.6% Monday morning at $46.51 a barrel, a decline of more than 5% compared with last Monday’s opening price of $49.17.