The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose by about two cents in the past week to start this week off at a price of $2.91, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. This represents the highest pump price since June.
Month over month, the price rose nearly six cents per gallon, and it jumped to more than 43 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.85, while the year-ago average was $2.547.
Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said:
The national average gas price has broken out of a well-established rut, climbing above $2.90 per gallon for the first time since mid-June on rising oil prices ahead of the reinstatement of sanctions against Iran and OPEC failing to pump enough oil to meet robust demand. We may see prices continue to lift ahead of the mid-terms, however completely unrelated to the elections, but due to constant threats from an improving economy: higher demand and lower supply is tipping the balance of the oil market and pushing prices higher. We may even soon see $3 per gallon nationally, which would be the first time since October 2014, if oil prices continue to rise. I, along with motorists, will be eagerly awaiting any relief at the pump, but don’t hold your breath – it may get worse before it gets better.
Crude oil prices moderated somewhat today on reports that the United States is weighing the option of granting some waivers for countries wanting to purchase oil from Iran. Hedge funds also have reduced their long positions in Brent crude by 14 million barrels, anticipating that the waivers will be granted.
States with the lowest average gas prices last week included South Carolina ($2.59 a gallon), Mississippi ($2.60), Alabama ($2.62) and Louisiana and Texas ($2.64).
The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.80), California ($3.78), Washington ($3.42), Alaska ($3.30) and Oregon ($3.28).
West Texas Intermediate crude oil for November delivery traded down about 0.8% in the noon hour Monday at $73.78, while Brent for December delivery traded at $83.28, down more than 1%. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude increased to $10.00 a barrel week over week.