GasBuddy: Prices at pump creep to highest level in over a year


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(GasBuddy) For the fifth consecutive week, the national average has increased, rising 3.7 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.45 Monday according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country. The national average price of diesel has risen 3.8 cents in the last week and stands at $2.68 per gallon.

“Many factors continue to push oil prices higher, but at the foundation of the rise is the fact that the coronavirus situation continues to improve, pushing global oil demand higher as production continues to lag, pushing U.S. gas prices higher,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Until OPEC intercedes and raises oil production in the months ahead, motorists should continue to expect rising gas prices, which for the first time stand at their highest in over a year, adding misery to the dire economic situation as millions remain jobless. The news won’t likely improve in the months ahead, with continued increases in gas prices as OPEC maintains a tight balance between reduced demand and supply, keeping prices on the higher side.”

Crude oil prices carried their rally into the new week, with West Texas Intermediate crude up 59 cents to $57.44 per barrel, up nearly $4 from last week Monday’s open when WTI fetched $52.68. Brent crude oil was also in the green in early trade Monday, up 59 cents to $59.93 per barrel, just cents away from reaching the psychologically significant $60 level, which hasn’t been reached since COVID-19 decimated demand. Crude oil continues to push higher as rebounding global demand brings concerns that oil production isn’t returning fast enough. Since November, crude oil prices have skyrocketed over 60% on optimism that vaccines will eventually lead to some return to normal life, boosting oil consumption.

Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration revealed a small 1 million barrel decline in crude oil inventories, while gasoline inventories jumped 4.5 million barrels, but remained some 3% lower than their year ago level. Distillate inventories were unchanged in the last week and remain a healthy 14% above year ago levels. With spring coming, refiners are likely soon to gear up and perform maintenance before switching to producing the more expensive, EPA-mandated summer gasoline ahead of a May 1st deadline to make the shift. Implied gasoline demand, a critical look at demand, fell just 63,000 barrels last week to 7.77 million barrels, about a million barrels per day below what may be considered normal for this time of year.

According to new gasoline demand figures being released by GasBuddy, U.S. gasoline demand fell slightly for the week ending Saturday, the second straight week of decline. National demand fell 0.16%, while gasoline demand fell 4.2% in PADD 1, rose 0.9% in PADD 2, rose 3.1% in PADD 3, rose 1.0% in PADD 4 and rose 3.5% in PADD 5. While a large snowstorm that moved through the Eastern U.S. likely contributed to the large decline in gasoline demand in PADD 1, other regions saw solid improvement in demand, even as a polar vortex began to move into areas of the country toward the end of the week.

For the week ahead, it’s likely gasoline prices in most states will continue to inch higher, following the rally in oil that has been witnessed over the last week.

GAS PRICE TRENDS

The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists was unchanged at $2.29 per gallon, followed by $2.39, $2.49 and $2.19.

The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $3.27 per gallon, down 2 cents from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.06 per gallon, up 4 cents from a week ago.

The median U.S. price is $2.38 per gallon, up 4 cents from last week and about 7 cents lower than the national average.

The states with the lowest average prices: Mississippi ($2.12), Texas ($2.14) and Oklahoma ($2.14), while the highest priced states were California ($3.42), Hawaii ($3.29) and Washington ($2.84).



www.wane.com

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