U.S. gasoline prices reached a two-month peak of $2.361 last week and have been drifting lower to average $2.35 a gallon for regular fuel Monday morning. Crude oil prices remained relatively steady until last Thursday, when they reached a peak of over $50 a barrel before falling back to settle below $49 a barrel on Friday.
U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 6.5 million barrels in the week ended August 4, according to federal data released last Wednesday. That helped boost prices to the $50 mark, but a build of 3.4 million barrels in gasoline supplies threw cold water on traders’ enthusiasm.
Tensions with Venezuela relaxed somewhat by Friday, and the Baker Hughes oil rig count increased by three last week, both contributors to Monday’s lower pump price. All these factors are expected to keep pump prices moving downward, even if only slightly, according to GasBuddy.
Among the states, gasoline is cheapest in South Carolina ($2.065 a gallon), Oklahoma ($2.082), Mississippi ($2.093), Alabama ($2.094) and Arkansas ($2.100).
The five states where residents are paying the most for gasoline on Tuesday are Hawaii ($3.000), California ($2.969), Washington ($2.828), Alaska ($2.740) and Oregon ($2.681).
States with the largest weekly increase in average prices compared with a week ago are Idaho (eight cents), Wyoming (four cents), Utah (four cents) and Michigan (three cents). Prices rose by two cents a gallon in five states: Arizona, Oregon, North Carolina, North Dakota and Iowa.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for September delivery traded down about 1.3% Monday morning at $48.19 a barrel.