Energy Economy

US Gas Prices Dropped 7 Cents Last Week

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline slipped by 6.8 cents per gallon last week to reach $2.63, according to industry analysts at GasBuddy. Two weeks ago, the average was $2.73 a gallon.

Last week’s national average was the lowest price yet this summer and the lowest since March. 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 traded around $54.70 a barrel early Tuesday. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for immediate delivery has dipped by nearly $40 a barrel. Traders are puzzling over a heated-up trade war and the potential for a further production cut from OPEC+. 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:

[T]he drops in gas prices could slow in the weeks ahead as some OPEC members talk about cutting oil production to stem the recent drop in oil prices. That possibility pushed oil back up $3 per barrel from the lows seen last week. However, a production cut from oil producers may be more akin to putting lipstick on a pig as oil markets have plenty of downside ahead as demand for fuels begins to move lower into the fall with summer driving season ending soon. The U.S. national average could fall an additional 35 cents per gallon by Thanksgiving even after this week’s drop should the trade tensions and geopolitical risks remain the same.

Nearly every state saw a decline in the average price of a gallon of gas last week. The week’s median price for a gallon of regular gas was $2.53, or 10 cents a gallon below the average. The average price at the 10% of gas stations charging the most for gas was $3.53 a gallon (down three cents week over week), while the average at the 10% charging the least was $2.19 (seven cents lower).

Compared with the prior week, the five states where drivers are paying the most for gas are Hawaii ($3.79, down six cents), California ($3.68, also down six cents), Nevada ($3.25, down 14 cents), Alaska ($3.16, down a penny) and Washington ($3.16, down seven cents). Oregon is the only other state where gas currently costs more than $3 a gallon.

The five states where gas is cheapest are Mississippi ($2.26, eight cents lower), Louisiana ($2.28, down nine cents), Alabama ($2.31, down six cents), South Carolina ($2.31, down nine cents) and Arkansas ($2.31, also down nine cents).

GasBuddy expects price declines to slow down this week, with prices rising in the Great Lakes region following the past week’s bonus to drivers of crude oil prices at around $51 a barrel.