Energy Economy

US Gas Price Ticked Higher This Week

The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline added a penny last week to start the new week at $2.875 according to the latest data from GasBuddy. That represents the second consecutive week that the retail price has moved up by a penny. 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 three cents a gallon, though it remains more than 62 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.90, while the year-ago average was $2.243.

Crude oil prices have dropped around $6 a barrel (down 8%) in the past week. If Monday is any indication of what this week is going to be like, crude prices could continue slipping. The question is how long that can last.

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

A very mixed week as oil prices collapsed Wednesday, opening the door for a round of late-week price drops, but motorists shouldn’t be fooled–it may not last long. Two things are for sure in one’s lifespan: death and taxes, but you can add uncertainty at the pump, especially this summer. President Trump has talked about tapping into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to put downward pressure on oil prices, but this would be a grave mistake and only lead to minuscule drops at the pump and only temporarily. Last week’s plummet in oil prices came thanks to Libya signaling it would resume oil exports, if there’s anything to learn here it’s that President Trump has little power over global supply and demand, and if anything, there’s few options for the President to bring real change to gas pumps: slow motorists appetite for fuels, see sustainable increases in production or slow down the abrasive and inflammatory rhetoric that spooks the oil market. Until then, there’s only one predictable outcome for gas prices for the remainder of the summer: volatile.

According to GasBuddy, states where prices moved most last week were: Michigan (down eight cents); Delaware and Florida (up eight cents); Utah (down five cents); Rhode Island (down four cents); Indiana, Nebraska and Ohio (up three cents); Arizona (down three cents); and Kentucky (up two cents).

States with the lowest average prices last week included: Mississippi and Alabama ($2.55); South Carolina ($2.56); Arkansas and Missouri ($2.60); Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma ($2.61); Virginia ($2.64); and Kansas ($2.66).

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.75); California ($3.64); Washington ($3.41); Alaska ($3.36); Nevada ($3.32); Oregon ($3.29); Utah ($3.16); Idaho ($3.15); Connecticut ($3.09); and Pennsylvania ($3.04).

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for August delivery traded down about 4.1% just after the noon hour Monday at $68.10, while Brent for September delivery traded at $72.14. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude decreased by $0.48 to $4.04 a barrel week over week.

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