The price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose by nearly four cents last week to post a national average price of $2.69 a gallon, the highest price so far this year and the highest in more than four months. The increase marks the seventh straight week of rising pump prices.
The most common pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.59 a gallon, a dime more than last week’s most common price. The average price of the highest-priced 10% of gas stations rose from $3.34 per gallon to $3.53, while the nation’s lowest-priced 10% of stations averaged $2.33 per gallon, up seven cents in the week.
Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, commented:
There’s no fooling motorists, gas prices have continued to surge. … The run-up this spring has felt worse than prior years, and thus far, the national average is up nearly 50 cents per gallon from our 2019 low. Unfortunately, this a rut we’ll be stuck in yet for at least a few more weeks. President Trump, as much as he’d like to control oil and gasoline prices, has not been able to successfully convince OPEC to respond, with oil prices last week closing above $60 per barrel, a fresh 2019 high.
DeHaan also noted that refiners are switching to summer grade fuel and building stockpiles in anticipation of the summer driving season that “officially” begins with the Memorial Day holiday. During the switch-over period, refinery runs are smaller (about 86% of refining capacity), but by the end of this month, throughput volumes should be on their way back to normal as production ramps up to more than 95% of refinery capacity for the summer.
Prices rose by nearly 12% to $3.62 a gallon over the past week in California, with Hawaii ($3.60), Washington ($3.14), Nevada ($3.04) and Oregon ($3.00) the other five states where gas prices average at least $3 a gallon.
The five states where gas prices are lowest are Arkansas ($2.42), Mississippi ($2.42), Alabama ($2.42), South Carolina ($2.44) and Oklahoma ($2.44). In all, pump prices rose by more than five cents a gallon in 10 states over the past week.
Gasoline prices are up more than 26 cents a gallon compared with the month-ago price of around $2.43 a gallon. Compared with last year’s price for the same date, the price is up 3.3 cents a gallon. Week over week, crude oil prices gained about $2 a barrel as of Friday.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil for May delivery traded up about 1.5% late Monday morning to $61.05 a barrel, while Brent for May delivery traded at $68.56, up about 1.4%. The price differential (spread) between front-month WTI and Brent crude is now around $7.50 a barrel, about 75 cents a barrel closer together than a week ago.