Energy Economy

US Gas Price Continues Sliding After OPEC Meeting

Paul Ausick

The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline slipped by more than five cents last week to start the new week at $2.830, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. Pump prices reached a year-to-date high of $2.97 on Friday ahead of the Memorial Day holiday and have declined slowly ever since.

Month over month, the price is down about 14 cents a gallon, though it remains nearly 58 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.891, while the year-ago average was $2.256.

Prices dropped in all 50 states last week, and the national average price has now fallen for four consecutive weeks.

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

The threat of an escalating trade war with China and others took a back seat to one of the most anticipated OPEC meetings last week: OPEC agreed to increase oil production by just 600 thousand barrels a day, well short of expectations amidst a hot global and U.S. economy. Crude oil prices responded by skyrocketing over 5 percent Friday while refined products, including gasoline, rose 2 percent. The worry is the rally may continue into this week as motorists prepare for the upcoming July 4 weekend. The decision may lead to an abrupt end in recent gas price declines or may slow it down, just as gasoline prices had been catching up to the prior slump in crude oil. I’m optimistic that we can avoid a $3 per gallon national average, but if gas prices were to mirror the gains in oil prices, a 5% gain would theoretically put us back at nearly $2.99 per gallon, not what you like to see any time, much less prior to the summer’s most popular holiday

According to GasBuddy, states where prices moved most last week were: Michigan (down 14 cents); Indiana (down 11 cents); Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky (down seven cents); Kansas, Maine, Florida and Oklahoma (down five cents); and North Carolina (down four cents).

States with the lowest average prices last week included: South Carolina ($2.49); Mississippi ($2.53); Alabama ($2.54); Oklahoma ($2.56); Louisiana ($2.57); Tennessee and Arkansas ($2.58); Missouri ($2.59); and Ohio and Virginia ($2.62).

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.68); California ($3.67); Washington ($3.42); Alaska ($3.39); Nevada ($3.33); Oregon ($3.28); Utah ($3.18); Idaho ($3.17); Arizona ($3.10); and Connecticut ($3.09).

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for August delivery traded down about 0.5% Monday at $68.27, while Brent for August delivery traded at $74.29. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude dipped by $3.34 to $6.02 a barrel week over week.