U.S. Gas Prices Bounce Around as Demand Reaches Peak; 4 States Average Less Than $2 Per Gallon

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The week after the long Independence Day holiday weekend saw a bit of a bounce in gasoline prices, but last week U.S. drivers were treated once again to falling pump prices. The national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline fell by 1.6 cents to $2.243 week over week as of Monday morning, according to GasBuddy, a website for finding inexpensive gasoline.

On Tuesday morning, the price had crept back up to $2.261 a gallon, but that’s still more than 3 cents lower than the month-ago price.

The price of crude oil rose by about 5% last week following monthly reports from OPEC, the International Energy Agency, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicating that demand was rising and would continue to do so. At first, oil traders paid attention to the fact spelled out by all three reports that production was also rising. However, by the end of the week, the market was moving toward the increased demand side of the ledger.

In the United States, at least, that move made sense. Demand for gasoline typically peaks at this time of year. The EIA has reported gasoline demand of around 9.8 million barrels a day for the past few weeks and the level of demand is not likely to vary much until after Labor Day.

Among the states where gasoline is cheapest according to GasBuddy: South Carolina ($1.961 a gallon), Alabama ($1.972), Mississippi ($1.987), Oklahoma ($1.998), and Arkansas ($2.003).

The five states where residents are paying the most for gasoline on Tuesday: Hawaii ($3.014), California ($2.911), Washington ($2.818), Alaska ($2.714), and Oregon ($2.662).

When the EIA publishes its weekly report on petroleum products on Wednesday, analysts are expecting to see a decline in U.S. commercial crude inventories of 3 million barrels and a drop of 700,000 barrels in gasoline supplies.

Crude oil for August delivery traded up about 0.5% Tuesday morning at $46.22 a barrel.