Energy Economy

US Gas Prices Dropped for Fourth Straight Week

Paul Ausick

The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline dropped by seven cents in the past week to start this week off at a price of $2.73, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. The cost of diesel fuel dipped by nearly 1.5 cents last week, and it now retails for $3.27 a gallon.

Month over month, the price is down by about 18 cents per gallon, but it is nearly 21 cents a gallon higher year over year. (Last week the difference was 35 cents a gallon.) Last month, the national average was $2.92, while the year-ago average was $2.53.

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

Motorists have just enjoyed the largest one week decline in average gas prices in 2018 with the national average falling to its lowest level since April. Oil markets have been weak as refinery maintenance season has slowed down crude oil inputs, leading to oil inventories that have risen noticeably. In addition, jitters over the economy and stock market have helped to push values down. But beware- any politician taking credit ahead of the elections is absolutely pulling your leg. We should see prices move lower yet again- but this behavior is par for the course every autumn. In addition, sanctions on Iran were reimposed yesterday, but while some countries that import oil from Iran have waivers, those waivers may be temporary- so the drop at the pump may not continue indefinitely.

Nearly every state (48) saw gas prices fall last week, while in Alaska and Oregon prices rose a bit.

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.83), California ($3.73), Washington ($3.48), Alaska ($3.34) and Oregon ($3.34).

States with the lowest average prices last week included Oklahoma ($2.40), Delaware ($2.42), South Carolina ($2.43), Texas ($2.45) and Louisiana ($2.45).

Prices dropped the most in Michigan (10 cents), Ohio (nine cents), Delaware (nine cents), Kentucky (eight cents) and California (seven cents).

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for December delivery traded up about 0.6% in the early afternoon Monday, at $63.49, while Brent for January delivery traded at $73.31, up about 0.7%. The price differential (spread) between front-month WTI and Brent crude narrowed slightly from $10.30 to $9.82 a barrel week over week.