After breaking a weeks-long string of gas price increases two weeks ago with a 3.5 cent per gallon drop, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas slipped by another three cents per gallon last week to reach $2.73, according to industry analysts at GasBuddy. Two weeks ago, the average was $2.80 a gallon.
The last time the price was this low was July 1, a low that consumers had not seen for four months. For the record, the lowest price so far this year was posted in January at $2.23 a gallon, so prices remain about 22% above that.
Crude oil prices have been flat, even though U.S. inventories took a big hit last week. Traders simply don’t see the economic underpinning needed to boost prices. Slowing economic growth is taking the sting out of the OPEC+ production cuts and the outlook for the second half of 2019 is not improving.
GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick DeHaan, noted:
Average gasoline prices have been on cruise control the last week, falling gently for the second straight week as oil prices remained largely in check as we enter the final month of the summer driving season. … Concerns still abound over the lack of a China/U.S. trade deal as talks get back underway this week, but by and large, motorists can expect to see little organized movement at the pump in the week ahead, and barring any new situations, we should be able to cruise into the fall months without a major hiccup in prices.
All but a few states saw average prices decline last week, with the exception of cyclical spikes in the Great Lakes region. The most common price last week for a gallon of regular gas was $2.49, down by $0.20 from the prior week. The average price at the 10% of gas stations charging the most for gas was $3.56 a gallon (down four cents week over week) while the average at the 10% charging the least was $2.35 (down six cents).
Compared with the prior week, the five states where drivers are paying the most for gas are California ($3.74, up two cents), Hawaii ($3.86, down five cents), Nevada ($3.39, up eight cents), Washington ($3.23, up a penny) and Alaska ($3.17, unchanged). Oregon is the only other state where gas currently costs more than $3 a gallon.
The five states where gas is cheapest are Mississippi ($2.34, down three cents), Louisiana ($2.36, down five cents), Alabama ($2.37, down four cents), Arkansas ($2.40, down three cents) and South Carolina ($2.40, also down three cents).
GasBuddy expects lower prices to have an encore in most states this week with the possible exception being the West Coast where refinery outages have pushed wholesale prices up in California.
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