US Gas Price Ticks Higher but Should Begin Seasonal Decline Soon

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The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose by 1.6 cents in the past week, to start this week off at a price of $2.84, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. The summer driving season (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend) posted an average price of $2.87 a gallon, the highest since 2014. Pump prices reached a year-to-date high of $2.97 at the Memorial Day holiday and have declined slowly ever since.

Retail gasoline prices were 55 cents a gallon higher this year compared to the summer driving season of 2017, but 71 cents below the 2014 average.

Month over month, the price is down 2.7 cents a gallon, and it remains about 18 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.864, while the year-ago average was $2.659. Gas prices jumped last year when Hurricane Harvey tore through the Gulf of Mexico and forced refineries in Texas and Louisiana to shut down temporarily.

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

Last week saw a brief and fairly tame rise in the national average, brought on mainly by a select few states where gas prices tend to be volatile. Overall, it was a mostly stable week with some up and down movement state-by-state, but now we await the changeover to winter gasoline that happens this Saturday for some relief at the pump. While Hurricane Florence may pose fuel-related challenges for areas of the East Coast, there is little to no threat to refineries at this time and is thus unlikely to bring measurable impact to the national average price of gasoline, but could bring supply challenges to several states, depending on levels of evacuations and timing of them. Hurricane season aside, gasoline demand will likely drift lower nearly countrywide, putting some additional downward impact on prices in most communities over the next few weeks.

States with the lowest average prices last week included: Alabama and Mississippi ($2.52), Louisiana ($2.55), Arkansas and South Carolina ($2.56), Tennessee and Oklahoma ($2.58), Texas ($2.60), Virginia ($2.61) and Missouri ($2.63).

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.73), California ($3.61), Washington ($3.36), Alaska ($3.30), Oregon ($3.24), Idaho ($3.21), Nevada ($3.18), Utah ($3.14), Pennsylvania ($3.06) and Connecticut ($3.01).

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for October delivery traded down about 0.2% just after the noon hour Monday at $67.61, while Brent for November delivery traded at $77.19. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude increased by $1.26 to $9.58 a barrel week over week.