At $2.56, the national gas price average has increased nine cents inside of 13 days. Strong fall consumer gasoline demand has continued into November and is chipping away at national gasoline inventory. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports total gasoline inventories dropped by 3.3 million bbl in their latest report.
“Compared to the first half of November last year, gas prices this November are on average 39-cents more expensive,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “However, while November gas prices have come in like a lion, AAA expects them to go out like a lamb.”
On the week, gas prices increased for the majority of states across the country. However, only four states are seeing double-digit fluctuations at the pump: Florida (+13 cents), Indiana (-13 cents), Alaska (+12 cents) and Ohio (-10 cents).
- The nation’s top ten states with the largest weekly changes: Florida (+13 cents), Indiana (-13 cents), Alaska (+12 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), Oregon (+7 cents), North Carolina (+6 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Texas (+6 cents) and South Carolina (+6 cents).
- The nation’s top ten states with the least expensive gas prices: Alabama ($2.26), Mississippi ($2.27), South Carolina ($2.29), Louisiana ($2.30), Arkansas ($2.31), Texas ($2.31), Virginia ($2.32), Tennessee ($2.34), Oklahoma ($2.35) and Missouri ($2.36).
The West Coast has seen prices push upward and the region continues to sell the most expensive gas. Gas prices on the West Coast increased as much as 12 cents on the week: Alaska $3.21 (+12 cents), Oregon $2.85 (+7 cents), California $3.24 (+3 cents), Hawaii $3.22 (+ 5 cents), Washington $2.99 (+5 cents), Arizona $2.40 (+2 cents) and Nevada $2.74 (+1 cent). Refinery utilization on the West Coast remains high at 86.2 percent, according to the EIA weekly report. The report also showed that crude oil inputs through regional refineries also increased last week by 135,000 bbl to reach 2.388 million bbl per day.
Great Lakes and Central
Gas prices in the Great Lakes and Central states continue to see volatility across the region. Motorists in six states are paying less on the week: Indiana (-13 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Wisconsin (-2 cent), Missouri (-2 cents) and Kentucky (-1 cent). The remaining states in the region saw modest price jumps with Nebraska’s gas price increasing the most with a five-cent increase. Michigan ($2.74) and Illinois ($2.72) are selling the most expensive gas in the region, while motorists in Kansas ($2.40) and Missouri ($3.36) are paying the least.
At 44.5 million bbl, the Great Lakes and Central region has seen gasoline inventories decline for six weeks straight and register at the lowest level since mid-November 2014.
South and Southeast
On the week, gasoline prices have increased an average of nine cents across the South and Southeast. With a 13-cent jump, Floridians are seeing the biggest change, while Oklahomans’ gas prices are five cents more than last Monday. Regardless of the increases, the region is still selling some of the cheapest gas in the country with seven states landing on this week’s top 10 states with the least expensive gas: Alabama ($2.26), Mississippi ($2.27), South Carolina ($2.29), Louisiana ($2.30), Arkansas ($2.31), Texas ($2.31) and Oklahoma ($2.35).
Sitting at 78 million bbl, gasoline inventory in the region dipped slightly by 800,000 bbl on the week. The latest EIA report shows that regional inventory has only surpassed the 80 million bbl mark one time since Labor Day.. This move shows demand, while steady, is slowing.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Every state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region is paying more for a gallon of gasoline on the week, with North Carolina (+6 cents) and New Jersey (+6 cents) seeing the largest jumps. The most expensive gas in the region is in Pennsylvania ($2.79) and Washington, D.C. ($2.74). Both areas also land on this week’s top 10 states with the highest gas prices. The cheapest gas in the region is in Virginia ($2.32) and Tennessee ($2.34).
According to the EIA, the region had a 1.6 million bbl draw on the week, which was the largest draw of any region in the country. At a total of 52 million bbl, regional inventories are at a low for the year. In fact, the last time regional inventory measured at the 52 million bbl mark was in December of 2014.
As motorists in Utah (-3 cents) and Idaho (-1 cent) pay less at the pump on the week, those in Colorado (+3 cents), Montana (+3 cents) and Wyoming (+1 cent) are paying pennies more. Compared to one month ago, gas prices in both Utah (-11 cents) and Idaho (-7 cents) are cheaper. Gasoline inventory remains at the 7 million bbl mark for a fifth week.
Oil market dynamics
International markets opened Monday morning posting crude oil losses amid reports of the U.S. adding oil rigs that indicate increased U.S. investment and oil production. Oil-services firm Baker Hughes reported that drillers added nine rigs last week – the biggest increase since June of this year – bringing the total crude oil rig count to 738. The increased U.S. production continues to dilute OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the global oil market and may be on the minds of OPEC cartel members when they meet in Vienna on November 30 to discuss extending their production cuts through the end of 2018 to rebalance global crude oil supply.
Additionally, tensions in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iran and Bahrain have traders keeping a watchful eye on the region. Discussions of political power and influence continue to surround the Saudi Arabian King and his son the Crown Prince. At this time the King has not relinquished the thrown to his son, but his son continues to instate economic reforms including a plan to sell off a portion of the government-owned Saudi Aramco oil company.
On Friday, an explosion at Bahrain’s main pipeline shut down operations. Bahrain officials have labeled the explosion an act of terrorism and linked it to Iran. Over the weekend, the country was able to get the fire under control and shut off oil supplies to the pipeline. At this time, it is unclear when Bahrain will have its pipeline back up and running. Monday also saw a powerful earthquake hit the border of Iraq and Iran, killing 348 people. Both countries currently have search and rescue missions responding to earthquake. In the coming days, government officials will know more about the extent of the damage and whether any energy producing sectors where damaged during the quake.
Traders will continue to keep an eye on any supply disruptions in the Middle East, U.S. production and the impact it has on global supply and demand. At the closing of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 43 cents to settle at $56.74 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.