US Gas Price Moves Higher for First Time in 3 Weeks

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The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose nearly three cents last week to start the new week at $2.87, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. That’s the first increase in three weeks. 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 less than a penny a gallon and remains more than 53 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.853, while the year-ago average was $2.314.

Crude oil prices dipped again last week but U.S. inventory levels fell sharply as well. Speculative buying in the futures market also rose last week after a massive drop in the previous.

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

Pushed higher by signs of a lessening in trade tensions between the U.S and the European Union and a drawdown in U.S. oil and fuel inventories following last Wednesday’s Department of Energy’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report, pump prices across the country posted gains that could represent a u-turn in falling pump prices at the halfway point of summer. Indications of continued strong summertime demand for gasoline along with robust fuel export numbers could serve to help sustain moderately higher gas prices, but more geopolitical events, such as the closing of oil ports on the Red Sea, affecting Saudi Arabian crude exports, are sure to provide more upwards momentum for fuel prices in the week ahead. Despite markets reacting pessimistically last Friday to comments made by Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, who restated the possibility that Russia “could” raise oil production by a million barrels a day if needed, and the rise in the weekly U.S. and Canadian rig count, underlying fundamentals continue to suggest a tightening the global supply of crude.

According to GasBuddy, states where prices moved most last week were: Michigan (up 16 cents); Ohio (up eight cents); Alaska (up seven cents); Nevada, Nebraska, Hawaii and Kentucky (up five cents); and South Dakota (up four cents).

States with the lowest average prices last week included: Alabama and Mississippi ($2.55); South Carolina ($2.56); Arkansas and Tennessee ($2.59); Louisiana and Missouri ($2.60); and Virginia ($2.61).

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.99); California ($3.69); Alaska ($3.49); Washington ($3.39); Nevada ($3.34); Oregon ($3.26); Utah ($3.16); and Idaho ($3.11).

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for September delivery traded up about 2% just after the noon hour Monday to $70.03, while Brent for September delivery traded at $74.90. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude decreased by $0.10 to $4.87 a barrel week over week.