Since Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has decreased by a penny to $2.42. New data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) helps to explain why: total domestic gasoline supplies remain high while demand remains low. For total domestic supply, although it took a minor step back by 100,000 bbl last week, it is still 2.7 million bbl higher than 2019’s level at this time. A higher stock level and lower demand – which EIA estimates fell from 8.93 million b/d to 8.72 million b/d last week – have helped to push pump prices lower across the country. These trends will likely continue through the end of the week and help to push pump prices lower.
Largest Weekly Decreases
- When compared to last Thursday, these 10 states have seen the largest declines in their averages: Florida (-8 cents), North Dakota (-6 cents), Kentucky (-5 cents), West Virginia (-5 cents), Colorado (-5 cents), Alabama (-4 cents), Louisiana (-4 cents), Mississippi (-4 cents), Virginia (-4 cents) and Arkansas (-3 cents).
As the impact of the coronavirus continues to grow, crude oil prices have struggled to find their footing. At the close of Thursday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 25 cents to settle at $51.42. Market optimism that the number of new daily coronavirus cases was starting to peak has faded and has nearly wiped out any boosted prices from earlier in the week. Additionally, revised global crude forecasts from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have also given the market cause for concern. According to IEA’s February 2020 Oil Market Report, global oil demand is expected to contract this quarter for the first time in more than 10 years, while 2020 demand is expected to grow at its lowest rate since 2011. OPEC’s analysis in its Monthly Oil Market Report for February states that the cartel expects global demand will grow by 990,000 b/d for 2020, a decrease of 230,000 b/d from last month’s projections. Until it appears that the international public health threat from the virus declines and China’s industrial sector recovers from the impact of the virus on production, crude prices are likely to continue facing downward pressure.