The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose by about two cents last week to start the new week at $2.97, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. Pump prices reached that level last Friday ahead of the Memorial Day holiday and have held steady through the weekend.
Month over month, the price is up about 15.5 cents a gallon and is more than 59 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.81, while the year-ago average was $2.37.
While expectations may have been for higher prices over the holiday weekend, the reported increase in oil production from OPEC and its partners, including Russia, sent crude prices tumbling by about $5 a barrel over the weekend, and the downtrend continues Monday.
Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said:
As the summer driving season gets underway, there’s reason to be optimistic and perhaps happy: OPEC appears ready to raise crude oil production to meet higher global demand, dashing at least for now, the likelihood of seeing the national average hit that ugly $3/gallon mark. For now, the national average peaked just under that level and prices are now starting to move ever-so-slowly lower, but more drops are coming. Crude oil dropped to $66.84 per barrel in electronic trading last night, representing a $5 per barrel loss in less than a week. I can confidently say that gas prices will be moving lower this week and perhaps into next week, so long as nothing comes out of left field to derail the plummet in oil prices. Motorists beware, however, the fall in gas prices will be slow to arrive at some stations and quick at others, so before gleefully filling up, check if you’re getting the best deal in the area.
According to GasBuddy, states where prices moved most last week were: Wyoming (up 10 cents); Indiana (down seven cents); Arizona (up six cents); Alaska, Colorado, South Dakota and Illinois (up five cents); and Washington, North Dakota and Wisconsin (up four cents).
States with the lowest average prices last week included: South Carolina ($2.64); Mississippi ($2.65); Alabama ($2.66); Oklahoma ($2.67); Louisiana ($2.68); Arkansas ($2.69); Missouri ($2.71); Tennessee ($2.72); Kansas ($2.73); and Texas ($2.75).
The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from California ($3.75); Hawaii ($3.68); Washington ($3.44); Alaska ($3.38); Oregon ($3.34); Nevada ($3.32); Idaho ($3.17); Utah ($3.14); Connecticut ($3.13); and Pennsylvania ($3.10).
West Texas Intermediate crude oil for July delivery traded down 2% in the noon hour Monday at $66.52, while Brent for July delivery traded at $75.04. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude dipped by $1.54 to $8.52 a barrel week over week.