Since Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by three cents to $2.28, which is the highest average seen since before lockdowns began in mid-March last year and three cents more than a week ago, 12 cents more than a month ago, but 30 cents less than a year ago. Pump prices have increased despite gas demand falling from 8.1 million b/d to 7.4 million b/d — the lowest level recorded since the end of May 2020 — and total domestic supply increasing by 4.5 million bbl to 241.1 million bbl last week, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Domestic crude prices climbing above $50 per barrel and growing total refinery utilization, which increased from 79 percent to 81 percent in the latest EIA weekly report, have contributed to higher pump prices. If crude prices continue to stay above $50 per barrel alongside higher refinery utilization rates, drivers could see pump prices continue to climb, which is unusual given that low winter gas demand typically pushes prices to their lowest point of the year.
At the close of Thursday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by 20 cents to settle at $50.83. Crude prices have increased this week after Saudi Arabia announced that it would cut its crude production by 1 million b/d in February and March after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries met with its partners, including Russia and Kazakhstan, to discuss their ongoing production reduction agreement. Additionally, increasing crude prices were supported by EIA’s weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories decreased by 8 million bbl to 485.5 million bbl last week. If total domestic crude supply continues to drop, crude prices could continue to increase and push pump prices higher.
Largest Weekly Increases
Since last Thursday, these 10 states have seen the largest increases in their averages: West Virginia (+14 cents), Florida (+10 cents), North Carolina (+8 cents), Arizona (+7 cents), South Carolina (+6 cents), Tennessee (+6 cents), Virginia (+6 cents), Pennsylvania (+5 cents), New Jersey (+5 cents) and New Mexico (+5 cents).