Consumers Finally Feeling Relief at the Pump

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Oil prices continued their downward move from last week, paving the way for additional drops in gasoline prices in the near future. Consumers are starting to feel some relief at the pump as the national average gasoline price has fallen two cents per gallon in the past week to $2.94 per gallon, according to GasBuddy’s survey of 135,000 gas stations.

A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was $65.37 in Monday morning trading, down from $72 from as recent as just two weeks ago, a drop of nearly $7 per barrel. The collapse in price comes even as data from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. oil inventories falling 4.2 million barrels in the last week, still hovering in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

States with the lowest average gasoline prices were South Carolina ($2.61), Mississippi ($2.63), Alabama ($2.64), Oklahoma ($2.65), Louisiana ($2.66), Arkansas ($2.67), Missouri ($2.69), Tennessee ($2.69), Kansas ($2.71) and Virginia ($2.74).

On the other hand, states with the highest average gasoline prices were California ($3.73), Hawaii ($3.68), Washington ($3.45), Alaska ($3.37), Oregon ($3.34), Nevada ($3.31), Utah ($3.18), Idaho ($3.16), Connecticut ($3.15) and Arizona ($3.09).

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, commented:

Finally some moderation has hit tens of thousands of gas stations across the country, following the drop in oil prices in recent days. We may have dodged a bullet in avoiding the $3 per gallon level for now, but not everything is rosy yet. While nearly forty states saw average prices drop in the last week, ten still saw small increases, so this is not an all-inclusive party by any means. Prices remain well above their year-ago level, costing the country $228 million more every day versus a year ago. Moving forward, all eyes remain on OPEC and their coming meeting to see if they’ll push oil prices higher, or if they’ll allow a respite for the summer driving season.