AAA: National gas price average pennies away from returning to $2/gallon
The national gas price average is $1.97, just one penny more expensive than last week. Part of the incremental jump can be attributed to increases in gasoline demand, which saw a 7% week-over-week increase. However, demand is still down nearly 25% compared to last year, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest reports.
“Americans are slowly but steadily returning to driving, causing gas prices to increase across the country,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The good news is gas is still cheap. Motorists can fill-up for $2/gallon or less at 70% of gas stations across the country.”
Today’s national average is 20 cents more than a month ago, but 85 cents less than a year ago.
- The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Alaska (+12 cents), Colorado (+12 cents), Idaho (+8 cents), Utah (+7 cents), New Mexico (+7 cents), South Dakota (+6 cents), Montana (+6 cents), Nevada (+5 cents), Washington, D.C. (+4 cents) and Wyoming (+4 cents).
- The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($1.58), Alabama ($1.64), Louisiana ($1.64), Arkansas ($1.64), Texas ($1.65), Missouri ($1.65), Oklahoma ($1.65), South Carolina ($1.67), Kansas ($1.68) and Tennessee ($1.71).
Great Lakes and Central States
Pump prices saw very modest increases or decreases on the week – two cents or less – in theGreat Lakes and Central states, with the exception of South Dakota (+6 cents). State averages in the region range between as low as $1.65 in Missouri to as expensive as $2.22 in Illinois. Both of these states rank among the top 10 least and most expensive state averages, respectively, in the country.
Compared to a year ago, motorists are seeing pump price savings of roughly 80 – 95 cents.
The region’s refinery utilization rate saw the largest jump of any in the country, increasing by 4%. At 77%, it is also the highest rate among all regions. It contributed to a 300,000 bbl build in Great Lakes and Central States stocks, to total 55 million bbl. According to EIA data, gasoline stocks have surpassed year-ago levels (of nearly 48 million bbl).
South and Southeast
All South and Southeast states saw pump price jumps on the week with the majority seeing increases of a penny or two. New Mexico (+7 cents) was the outlier in terms of price increases.
Gas prices continue to average well below $2/gallon across the region. Florida ($1.88) carries the highest average. Motorists can find gas for $1.75 or less at 68% of stations in the region.
While gasoline stocks drew by 1.1 million bbl, total stock levels (89 million bbl), sit at a more than 4 million bbl year-over-year surplus. Stocks could see an increase next week as refinery rates jumped 2% up to 74%. Motorists can expect continued increases, though not spikes, at the pump.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
On the week, the region saw gas prices push more expensive, though mostly by one to two cents. Washington, D.C. (-6 cents) was the only state in the region to see a decrease.
Five states in the region – Pennsylvania ($2.24), New York ($2.18), Washington, D.C., ($2.12), New Jersey ($2.02) and Maryland ($2.02) – carry averages of $2/gallon with a handful of others just pennies away from hitting this mark again: Massachusetts ($1.98), Rhode Island ($1.98), Vermont ($1.96) and Connecticut ($1.96).
Gasoline stocks have steadily increased throughout the month of May. The latest build – nearly 2 million bbl – pushes total levels to close to 74 million bbl. That is a near-high mark for stocks in the region this year. More so, stock levels sit at a 10 million bbl year-over-year surplus. However, refinery rates are still low, sitting at 50%.
All five Rockies states land on this week’s top 10 list of states with the largest weekly increase: Colorado (+12 cents), Idaho (+8 cents), Utah (+7 cents), Montana (+6 cents) and Wyoming (+4 cents). Colorado ($2.07) had the largest jump in region and second largest in the country on the week. Only Wyoming ($1.94) and Montana ($1.82) have averages under the $2/gallon mark.
In EIA’s latest report, gasoline stocks built by a modest 100,000 bbl, bumping total stocks up to 7.8 million bbl. Year-over-year, the region has a 1.1 million bbl surplus of stocks. Refinery rates saw a slight dip, falling slightly to 69%
Pump prices in the West Coast region mostly increased last week alongside the easing of stay-at-home orders in the region. Alaska (+12 cents) and Nevada (+5 cents) saw the largest increases in the region, while Hawaii (-2 cents) saw the region’s only decline. Hawaii ($3.16) and California ($2.90) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.54), Oregon ($2.44), Nevada ($2.46), Alaska ($2.25) and Arizona ($2.18) follow.
According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased from 31 million bbl to 29.2 million bbl last week. Decreasing stocks may help to lift pump prices this week, if demand continues to rebound in the region.
Oil Market Dynamics
At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $1.78 to settle at $35.49 per barrel. At the end of last week, crude prices spiked amid increased market optimism that demand for crude oil and refined products from it, including gasoline, may be rebounding. For this week, crude prices may continue to rise if the market believes that the 9.7 million b/d production reduction agreement for May and June 2020 between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major crude exporters, including Russia, is helping to rebalance the global oil market as demand remains low due to COVID-19.
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.