At $2.25, the national gas price average is just one cent cheaper than a week ago, five cents less than a month ago and four cents more than a year ago. Nationwide, last week did not see record demand, but was close to all-time high levels and continues to keep pace with summer 2016 levels. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gasoline stocks dropped 1.6 million bbl on the week. That figure brings national levels to 235.7 million bbl, which is approximately 4 million bbl below this time last year.
“As we hit the middle of the summer season, consumers can still fill up for $2.25/gallon or less at 62% of gas stations in the country,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “If, however, demand keeps pace and stocks continue to draw down at sizable levels, gas prices are likely to increase this month into next. So now is a good time to take a road trip.”
On the week, only nine states saw gas prices increase: Missouri (+5 cents), Georgia (+4 cents), South Carolina (+2 cents), Tennessee (+2 cent), Louisiana (+1 cent), Maine (+1 cent), Washington, D.C. (+1 cent), Alabama (+1 cent) and Mississippi (+1 cent).
- The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly changes are: Indiana (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents), Missouri (+5 cents), Kentucky (-5 cents), Georgia (+4 cents), Illinois (-3 cents), Utah (-3 cents), Wyoming (-2 cents) and Delaware (-2 cents).
- The nation’s top ten markets with the largest monthly changes are: Florida (-15 cents), Wyoming (-12 cents), California (-10 cents), Utah (-10 cents), Alaska (-10 cents), South Dakota (-10 cents), Colorado (-9 cents), Indiana (+9 cents), Idaho (-8 cents) and Texas (-8 cents).
Only three states in the region saw prices change on the week: California (-2 cents), Arizona (-1 cent) and Nevada (-1 cent). All states in the region, with the exception of Arizona ($2.25), continue to lead the country with the most expensive gas prices: Hawaii ($3.05), California ($2.91), Washington ($2.81), Alaska ($2.78), Oregon ($2.67) and Nevada ($2.63). However, prices in the region are, on average, five cents cheaper than one month ago.
For the first time in four weeks, the West Coast posted a build in gasoline stocks. The 300,000 bbl brings levels to 28.2 million bbl and in line with year ago levels. The build comes despite the fact that the region’s refineries are running below typical summer levels. Refinery run levels could be back to summer time normal with PBF Energy’s Torrance, CA, and Valero’s Benicia, CA, refineries wrapping up planned maintenance this week.
Utah and Idaho landed on this week’s leading lists with the most expensive gas and the biggest changes. The average gas price in Idaho is $2.53, which is two cents less than last week. At $2.47, Utah’s gas price is three cents cheaper than last week. Gas prices also fell on the week in Wyoming (-2 cents) and Colorado (-1 cent) while Montana remained flat.
The region has seen four straight weeks of gasoline stock levels decline, most recently by 400,000 bbl according to the EIA. Traditionally with stocks declining, prices increase. However, that is not the case for gas prices in the region compared to one month ago: Wyoming (-12 cents), Utah (-10 cents), Colorado (-9 cents), Idaho (-8 cents) and Montana (-6 cents).
Great Lakes and Central States
After seeing gas price increases by double-digits last week, these four states saw prices drop on the week: Indiana (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Michigan (-8 cents) and Kentucky (-5 cents). Missouri was the only state in the region to see prices increase (+5 cents). However, compared to one month ago, only Indiana (+8 cents) and Ohio (+1 cent) are paying more at the pump. On average, the region’s gas price is three cents less than one month ago.
At 53 million bbl, stockpiles remained unchanged for the week and are close to a million bbl higher than a year ago.
South and Southeast
The South and Southeast saw gas prices both slide and increase on the week. Gas prices are more expensive in half a dozen states: Georgia (+4 cents), South Carolina (+2 cents), Alabama (+1 cent), Arkansas (+1 cent), Louisiana (+1 cent) and Mississippi (+1 cent), while prices dropped in Florida (-1 cent), New Mexico (-1 cent) and Texas (-1 cent).
The South and Southeast saw the bulk of the country’s gasoline stock draw, bringing total levels to 81 million bbl – the largest gasoline stockpile of any region in the country.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
States in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast saw moderate changes in gas prices on the week. Only Washington, D.C. and Maine saw prices increase, albeit by one cent, while six states saw prices drop: Delaware (-2 cents), West Virginia (-2 cents), Connecticut (-1 cent), Massachusetts (-1 cent), Maryland (-1 cent) and Rhode Island (-1 cent). The week’s modest price changes are in line with the region’s modest gasoline stock build of 100,000 bbl. Stockpiles in the region measure at 66.2 million, which is nearly 6 million bbl less than this time last year, according to the EIA.
Every state in the region is paying, on average, four cents less at the pump than one month ago. New York has the biggest price difference at six cents less.
Oil Market Dynamics
After last week’s strong finish, West Texas Intermediate appears poised to continue making gains – opening near $47 per barrel today. The market has been trending upward slightly after EIA’s most recent weekly report showed that for the week ending on July 7, crude oil inventories dropped below 500 million bbl for the first time since late January. Moreover, total inventories of crude are just 4.4 million bbl more than last year, showing that the surplus is draining – albeit rather slowly. This news seems to have given the market some hope for the continuing decline of the glut of crude that has been suppressing prices this summer. Market observers will look at this week’s EIA report to see if the trend continues.
At the end of last week, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. added 2 oil rigs, bringing the total number of active rigs to 765. This news appears to have not rattled markets this morning even though an increase shows oil companies are still investing in crude exploration and production, which will continue to add to the glut of crude. With U.S. production still growing and rising output from OPEC countries that are exempt from its production reduction agreement that ends in March 2018, OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the global oil market could be thwarted. An OPEC and non-OPEC committee meets in St. Petersburg, Russia on July 24 to discuss the status of the agreement and potential next steps to deepen its impact. As the rebalance waiting game continues, drivers are likely to continue benefitting at the pump with cheaper summer gas prices.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.