Energy Economy

Gas Prices on the Rise Again

For the second week in a row, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline climbed after a string of nine consecutive weeks of increasingly lower prices. Monday’s national average was $1.83, up by 6.4 cents week over week.

The lowest prices in the country have risen to about $1.45 as of Monday morning. Gas prices still average below $2.00 a gallon in 40 states.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil traded up by around 0.5% Monday morning at $24.85 a barrel, after closing Friday at $24.74. International benchmark Brent crude traded down about 0.7% at $30.75. Two weeks ago, WTI crude oil closed trading at an all-time low of negative $37 a barrel.

The average cost at the most expensive 10% of stations stands at $2.67 per gallon, up three cents week over week, while the lowest 10% average $1.35 per gallon, up eight cents. The median U.S. price is $1.75 per gallon, nine cents higher than last week and about nine cents lower than the national average.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, commented, “Gasoline demand continues to rebound across the U.S. as more states re-open, with a week on week rise of nearly 5%, according to data from GasBuddy’s free payments card. The boost in demand has led oil and gasoline prices to rally, and as long as states continue to loosen restrictions, it’ll mean more motorists on the roads and filling their tank. … For now, the continued recovery in gas prices will nearly completely depend on improvement in the coronavirus situation, as so long as refineries boost production again as demand continues to rise again.”

The five states where drivers are paying the most for a gallon of gas are Hawaii ($3.43), California ($2.76), Washington ($2.30), Oregon ($2.27) and New York ($2.14).

The five states where gas is cheapest are Oklahoma ($1.45), Missouri ($1.46), Arkansas ($1.48), Mississippi ($1.50) and Kansas ($1.52).

Compared to last month, the national average is up less than a penny per gallon, and compared to last year, prices are down about $1.01 per gallon.

WTI crude prices have more than doubled since recovering from the drop into negative territory, but futures prices remain constrained due to continuing high production and lack of storage. The tangle in the futures market may not be sorted out until next month.