Energy Economy

US Gas Prices Dropped for Third Straight Week

Paul Ausick

The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline dropped by 2.9 cents in the past week, to start this week off at a price of $2.81, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. The cost of diesel fuel dipped by nearly a penny last week and now retails for $3.28 a gallon.

Month over month the price is down by about seven cents per gallon but has jumped to nearly 35 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.88, while the year-ago average was $2.46.

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

From coast to coast, gas prices in nearly every state saw downward movement in the last week as sliding oil prices continued to keep the door open to falling gas prices. In fact, in the next 24 hours we’ll likely see the national average fall to its lowest point in over six months. Saudi Arabia has indicated it is prepared to raise oil production, addressing what had been a major concern ahead of Iran sanctions taking effect. Oil prices have fallen over 10 percent in recent weeks, providing the bulk of the gas price relief we’re seeing, and will continue to see for the next week or two at least. While there is still some anxiety globally over a lack of spare oil capacity, the market has been laser focused on discussion from oil producers, including Russia, that they will act to raise production. OPEC meets in early December, and any official increase in oil production could go a long way to temper concerns of shortcomings in the market.

Nearly every state (47) saw gas prices fall last week, while only the usual suspects saw prices remain flat or rise a bit.

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.83), California ($3.79), Washington ($3.52), Oregon ($3.36) and Alaska ($3.33).

States with the lowest average prices last week included Oklahoma ($2.47), South Carolina ($2.49), Delaware ($2.51), Louisiana ($2.51) and Mississippi ($2.52).

Prices dropped the most in Iowa (seven cents), Nebraska (six cents), Louisiana (six cents), Oklahoma (six cents) and Texas (six cents).

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for December delivery traded down about 0.7% in the noon hour Monday at $67.09, while Brent for January delivery traded at $77.39, down about 0.4%. The price differential (spread) between front-month WTI and Brent crude narrowed slightly from $10.45 to $10.30 a barrel week over week.