Energy Economy

US Gas Prices Slide for Second Consecutive Week

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline slipped by 1.9 cents per gallon last week to reach $2.64, according to industry analysts at GasBuddy. That price remains well above the $2.56 average just before the drone attack on two major Saudi Arabian processing plants but down from the peak of $2.68 reached following the attack.

Crude oil traded around $55.11 a barrel just before noon Monday, down about 1.5% from Friday’s closing price. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for immediate delivery has dipped by about $8.00 a barrel (nearly 13%) from the price just two weeks ago. The limited response to the drone attacks, which have been all but certified as having been backed by Iran, was underscored by the interview with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan on Sunday’s broadcast of 60 Minutes.

GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick DeHaan, commented, “Oil prices have cooled back off after Saudi Arabia brought a significant portion of oil production and processing back online, helping the national average to begin moving lower again, but don’t tell California[ns]- who saw a massive spike of nearly 25 cents per gallon in the last week, fueled by refining issues there.”

DeHaan added, “Prices in most of California were slightly higher earlier this year, but if they all rise by an additional 10-15 cents they may rival the highest level since 2014. Prices there will eventually start following the national average lower, but it may be several weeks before it becomes noticeable.”

Retail price movements were mixed last week, with a nearly even split between states where prices rose and those where prices fell or remained unchanged. The week’s median price for a gallon of regular gas was $2.49, 15 cents a gallon below the national average. The average price at the 10% of gas stations charging the most for gas was $3.81 a gallon, while the per-gallon average at the 10% charging the least was $ 2.21.

Compared with the prior week, the five states where drivers are paying the most for gas are California ($3.99), Hawaii ($3.88), Nevada ($3.31), Washington ($3.116) and Oregon ($3.08). No other state currently sports a price of more than $3 a gallon.

The five states where gas is cheapest are Mississippi ($2.29), Louisiana ($2.30), South Carolina ($2.31), Arkansas ($2.32) and Alabama ($2.32).

Retail pump prices rise far more quickly than they fall. Here’s GasBuddy’s chart for the national average over the month of September. The drone attacks in Saudi Arabia were reported on Saturday, September 14, and it took six days for pump prices to reach their peak. In the 10 days since, prices have fallen by only about a third of their rapid rise.