At $2.01, the national gas price average is 11-cents cheaper on the week, 43-cents less expensive on the month and 68-cents less than a year ago.
“This week, the national gas price will drop below $2/gallon for the first time in four years and it won’t stop there as demand for gasoline diminishes as Americans stay home,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Ten states already have averages at $1.75 or less.”
Crude oil continues to price low – in the $20/bbl range – as U.S. gasoline demand decreases to numbers typically seen during the winter driving season. In fact, there is an atypical amount of winter-blend gasoline supply still available, which has caused the Environmental Protection Agency to extend the sale of winter blend past the May 1 deadline to May 20. The agency said they will continue to monitor and, if necessary, extend the waiver again.
“Delaying the switch-over to summer-blend gasoline will contribute to sustained lower prices as summer-blend is more expensive to produce,” added Casselano.
The difference between summer- and winter-blend gasolines is how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The more volatile a gasoline, the easier it evaporates. Winter-blend fuel must be able to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold. Summer-blend gasoline has a lower volatility to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that can contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels.
- The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Wisconsin (-22 cents), Montana (-21 cents), Alaska (-19 cents), Oklahoma (-15 cents), California (-15 cents), Arkansas (-14 cents), Idaho (-14 cents), New Hampshire (-13 cents), Kentucky (-13 cents) and Michigan (-13 cents).
- The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($1.56), Wisconsin ($1.59), Ohio ($1.65), Kentucky ($1.69), Michigan ($1.71), Indiana ($1.72), Mississippi ($1.73), Texas ($1.74), Arkansas ($1.74) and Missouri ($1.75).
Great Lakes and Central States
Six Great Lakes and Central States land on the top 10 list of cheapest averages in the country all with averages at $1.75 or less: Wisconsin ($1.59), Ohio ($1.65), Kentucky ($1.69), Michigan ($1.71), Indiana ($1.72) and Missouri ($1.75). Illinois ($2.04) is the only state in the region with an average above $2/gallon. Year-over-year, some states are seeing more than a $1/gallon savings: Wisconsin (-$1.10), Michigan (-$1.08) and Indiana (-$1.00).
On the week, state averages declined between 11 to 22 cents despite a drop in gasoline stocks. The region’s stock level declined by 800,000 bbl down to 56.2 million bbl, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, with an increase in regional refinery utilization, up 2.5% to 88%, stocks could see an increase in the next EIA report, which should push gas prices cheaper throughout the region.
South and Southeast
Gas price averages in the South and Southeast are all cheaper than $2/gallon. At $1.96, New Mexico and Florida carry the highest average in the region. Oklahoma ($1.56) carries the cheapest average in the region and country, and lands on these top 10 lists for biggest change: weekly (-15 cents), monthly (-61 cents) and yearly (-90 cents). Year-over-year, motorists in the South and Southeast are seeing at least 55 cents in savings at the pump.
With a 300,000 bbl draw, gasoline stocks now measure at 82.3 million bbl. While stocks have been decreasing weekly for more than a month, the latest draw is the smallest during this timeframe and contributed to the region seeing gas prices push cheaper by as much as 15 cents on the week.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
On the week, 12 Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states saw gas prices push cheaper by at least a dime. These states saw the largest pump price decrease of 13 cents: Maine ($1.93), West Virginia ($1.96), New Hampshire ($2.04), Connecticut ($2.16) and Pennsylvania ($2.22).
With the latest declines, five states in the region now have gas prices under $2/gallon: North Carolina ($1.84), Virginia ($1.85), Maine ($1.93), Delaware ($1.93) and West Virginia ($1.96).
Gasoline stocks drew by 1.2 million. The EIA measures total stocks for the region at 60 million bbl. However, regional refinery utilization bumped up 1% to 58%. Gas prices will continue to decrease across the region in the week ahead, with more states seeing their average fall below $2/gallon.
Every Rockies state, but Utah (-7 cents), saw double-digit price drops on the week: Montana (-21 cents), Idaho (-14 cents), Wyoming (-11 cents) and Colorado (-10 cents). Colorado ($1.97) is the only state in the region with an average under $2/gallon, and the state hasn’t seen regular unleaded that cheap since April 2016. It’s likely that Montana ($2.04) will drop below the $2/gallon mark this week too.
Prices are decreasing across the region, but Utah ($2.35) and Idaho ($2.33) continue to rank among the top 10 states in the country with the highest averages.
While stocks held steady at 8.9 million bbl, regional refinery utilization dropped by 5% to nearly 81%. This could yield a large draw in stocks in EIA’s report next week. However, motorists will continue to see gas prices decline alongside the national trend.
Although the West Coast region continues to have the most expensive state averages in the country, it is also seeing significant decreases, as crude prices remain low. When compared to a week ago, Alaska (-19 cents) saw the largest decline. Hawaii ($3.36) and California ($3.05) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.76), Oregon ($2.71), Nevada ($2.63), Alaska ($2.52) and Arizona ($2.47) follow.
According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region increased by over 900,000 bbl to 30.97 million bbl, which is approximately 150,000 bbl lower than the level at this time in 2019. Pump prices are likely to continue decreasing this week, barring any supply challenges.
Oil Market Dynamics
Crude prices continue to decline as the public health, financial and economic impacts from COVID-19 continue to mount. Until the virus is contained and Russia and Saudi Arabia end their crude price war, crude prices are likely to remain low. At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.09 to settle at $21.51 per barrel.
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.