Energy Economy

US Gas Price Rises for First Time in Over a Month

The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline added a penny last week to start the new week at $2.86 according to the latest data from GasBuddy. Pump prices reached a year-to-date high of $2.97 on the Friday ahead of the Memorial Day holiday and had been declining slowly ever since.

Month over month, the price is down about six cents a gallon, though it remains nearly 60 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.92, while the year-ago average was $2.259.

The one-cent increase is the first since the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but recent strength in crude oil prices combined with worries about hurricane season figure to produce small weekly increases in the near term.

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

As gas prices saw their highest level on July 4 in four years, President Trump continues to try to push OPEC to produce more crude oil, but so far, it hasn’t materialized into much anything. Gas prices have inched up in a majority of states and oil prices remain comfortably above $70 per barrel, with no significant relief any time soon. In addition, with a brief reminder of hurricane season as Beryl formed, there may be more worries that in the weeks ahead the Atlantic could churn out more storms, thus more risk of disruption in regards to oil or refinery infrastructure. There’s little downward pressure on oil prices as we remain in the midst of the summer driving season, and unless we see credible evidence to suggest OPEC or other countries are producing more oil, we will likely continue to see gas prices drift higher.

According to GasBuddy, states where prices moved most last week were: Delaware (up nine cents); Michigan (down eight cents); Maryland (up four cents); Pennsylvania (up three cents); New Mexico, Arizona, North Dakota and California (down three cents); Nebraska (up two cents); and Indiana (down two cents).

States with the lowest average prices last week included: Alabama and South Carolina ($2.53); Mississippi ($2.55); Missouri ($2.58); Louisiana and Arkansas ($2.59); Tennessee and Oklahoma ($2.60); Virginia ($2.63); and Kansas ($2.65).

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.72); California ($3.65); Washington ($3.42); Alaska ($3.39); Oregon ($3.30); Nevada ($3.23); Utah ($3.17); Idaho ($3.15); Connecticut ($3.07); and Arizona ($3.04).

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for August delivery traded down about 0.4% at noon Monday to $73.49, while Brent for September delivery traded at $78.01. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude decreased by $1.50 to $4.52 a barrel week over week.

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