Energy Economy

US National Average Gasoline Price Takes Aim at Multi-Year High

The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose by 5 cents last week to start the new week at $2.76 according to the latest data from Month over month the price is up more than 15 cents a gallon and is nearly 33 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.602 while the year-ago average was $2.426.

Only one among the 50 states saw a decline in pump prices over the past week. Crude oil prices continued to rise last week and have added 10% a barrel over the past two weeks.

U.S. petroleum inventories all fell last week with crude oil stockpiles down by 1.1 million barrels, gasoline inventories down 3 million barrels, and distillates (diesel fuel and heating oil) inventories down by 3.1 million barrels. Demand for gasoline hit a record high last month, far earlier than usual for the summer driving season.

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

With President Trump’s tweet last week targeting the price of oil, there may be additional scrutiny on oil prices in the coming weeks that bears monitoring. OPEC has been remarkably successful in better aligning supply to demand, draining the crude oil glut, and pushing oil prices to their highest since 2014. While refinery maintenance and the change to summer gasoline largely complete, oil prices remain one of the largest active drivers of gas prices now and, likely, in the weeks ahead. All signs point to some additional upward movement before prices peak and perhaps drop slightly around Memorial Day into the month of June — all certainly very contingent and subject to any changes from OPEC

According to GasBuddy, states where prices moved most last week were: Michigan and Rhode Island (up 11 cents); Ohio (up 10 cents); Connecticut and New Jersey (up 9 cents), Massachusetts and New Hampshire (up 8 cents); and New York, Maine, and Utah (up 7 cents).

States with the lowest average prices last week included: Missouri and Oklahoma ($2.44); Arkansas ($2.47); Kansas ($2.49); Mississippi and Louisiana ($2.50); Texas and South Carolina ($2.51); Wyoming ($2.52); and Alabama ($2.53)

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from California ($3.56); Hawaii ($3.54); Washington ($3.22); Alaska ($3.20); Nevada ($3.17); Oregon ($3.12); Utah ($3.06); Idaho ($3.00); Pennsylvania ($2.97); and Connecticut ($2.88).

WTI crude oil for June delivery traded down about 0.9% in the noon hour Monday at $67.96 while Brent for July delivery traded at $73.37. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude rose by 24 cents to $5.41 a barrel week over week.