Energy Economy

US Gasoline Prices Continue Sliding on Slowing Demand

Paul Ausick

U.S. gasoline prices averaged $2.41 a gallon Monday, down 3.3 cents from last Monday’s level and the lowest price in more than three months. Only one state (Indiana) did not see a price decline last week.

Demand for gasoline continues to fall, which led to an inventory buildup 5.7 million barrels of gasoline last week. Gasoline production amounted to 10.1 million barrels a day last week, while implied consumption totaled just 9.1 million barrels a day.

Crude oil inventories fell by 5.1 million barrels, likely due to a desire by refiners to lower year-end inventories in preparation for tax season.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said:

As we approach Christmas, average gas prices in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest point in 110 days, just as Hurricane Harvey began causing prices to spike, not exactly the Christmas gift some hoped for, but it’s about time nonetheless. As long as demand for gasoline continues to weaken, gasoline inventories will continue growing and it’ll be the gift that keeps on giving. In addition, the gap between prices today and a year ago is also at its narrowest in months, highlighting that prices are moving in the right direction for many. As we look towards our annual Fuel Outlook being released just after the New Year, there are some bright spots along with some concerns that lay ahead for 2018.

States where prices moved most last week were: Michigan and Ohio (down eight cents); Kentucky (down six cents); Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota and Delaware (down five cents); and Oregon, South Carolina and Mississippi (down four cents).

States with the lowest average prices last week included Missouri ($2.14); Mississippi and Alabama ($2.16); South Carolina and Arkansas ($2.17); Oklahoma ($2.18); Tennessee ($2.19); Texas ($2.20); Louisiana ($2.21); and Kansas ($2.23).

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.25); California ($3.13); Alaska ($3.12); Washington ($2.91); Oregon ($2.74); Pennsylvania and Nevada ($2.71); Connecticut ($2.68); New York ($2.64); and Montana ($2.60).

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil for January delivery traded up about 0.2% Monday morning at $57.41, while Brent for February delivery traded at $63.55. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude rose by about a dollar to $6.14 a barrel week over week.