After a week of pump price spikes, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has held steady at $3.04 for six days, following a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline that halted its operations and severely constrained the delivery of gasoline along the East Coast and Southeast. According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic refinery utilization increased slightly to 86.3 percent last week, while total domestic supply decreased by 2 million bbl to 234.2 million bbl and demand increased from 8.8 million b/d to 9.2 million b/d. With the gasoline distribution system continuing to recover from the attack and grappling with a shortage of gasoline tanker drivers, higher refinery utilization rates will ensure refined products, including gasoline, continue to flow where they are most needed. As demand and supply move in sync, the national average is expected to continue stabilizing through the weekend. However, we could see some fluctuation next week with the lead up to Memorial Day Weekend, during which AAA forecasts 34 million Americans to take road trips.
At the close of Thursday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.31 to settle at $62.05. Crude prices have decreased this week as the market remains concerned that increasing coronavirus infections around the world could reduce crude consumption this year. Additionally, new market concerns about inflation and EIA’s weekly report showing that total domestic crude inventories increased by 1.3 million bbl to 486 million bbl have also helped to reduce crude prices.
Largest Weekly Increases
- Since last Thursday, these 10 states have seen the largest increases in their averages: West Virginia (+7 cents), North Carolina (+5 cents), Pennsylvania (+4 cents), Nevada (+4 cents), Colorado (+4 cents), Oregon (+4 cents), Wyoming (+4 cents), Washington, D.C. (+4 cents), California (+4 cents) and Hawaii (+3 cents).