The national average gasoline price has hit its longest weekly downward streak in over a year, entering its sixth week with average prices falling 1.6 cents to $2.441 per gallon according to GasBuddy.
“The national average gas price is lower for the sixth straight week, the longest such decline since the summer of 2016,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Perhaps even more wild is that the national average has now remained under $3 per gallon for nearly 3 years, or 1,087 days as the days of cheap oil have continued. While recent actions from OPEC may cause oil prices to hold above the key $50 per barrel level, there is no threat of a quick return to the $3 per gallon days. In fact, the national average may continue to decline for a few weeks before leveling off as gasoline inventories continue to heal after Harvey. The future isn’t all roses, however- some areas of the Midwest have seen prices rise as refineries undergo seasonal maintenance and inventories in the region remain tight, keeping prices elevated. Regional hotspots like this may continue in the weeks ahead as gas stations come closer to fully passing along lower gas prices after Harvey and now become subject to new factors driving prices up and down.”
Prices continued to move lower as gasoline inventories posted another weekly rise, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, showing a rise in gasoline inventories of nearly a million barrels. To boot, refiners also increased processing rates to 84.5% of capacity, a rise of 1.1% versus the prior week. However, gas prices rose notably in the Great Lakes due to heavy maintenance as inventories there hit their lowest of 2017. Wholesale gasoline prices in the Great Lakes stand 20 cents per gallon higher than the Gulf Coast, which boasts the lowest wholesale prices.
At U.S. pumps, states with the top ten price movements in the last week: Indiana (+10 cents), Michigan (+8 cents), Oregon (-5 cents), Delaware (+5 cents), Kansas (+5 cents), Ohio (-5 cents), Alabama (-5 cents), Georgia (-5 cents), Florida (-4 cents) and North Carolina (-4 cents).
Leading states with the lowest average gas prices: Arkansas ($2.19), Missouri ($2.19), Mississippi ($2.20), Alabama ($2.21), South Carolina ($2.22), Louisiana ($2.23), Oklahoma ($2.24), Tennessee ($2.25), Texas ($2.25) and Virginia ($2.28).
States with the highest average gas prices: Alaska ($3.11), California ($3.07), Hawaii ($3.07), Washington ($2.87), Nevada ($2.78), Connecticut ($2.73), Oregon ($2.69), New York ($2.66), Pennsylvania ($2.65) and Idaho ($2.64).
While the national average may drift slightly lower in the week ahead higher oil prices may soon put a stop to the streak. Oil prices continue to hold above $50 per barrel on tensions in Iraq, which have seen production from some areas drop notably. In addition, an upcoming meeting among OPEC and some non-OPEC members may solidify plans to extend oil production cuts, keeping oil supply better balanced to reflect demand.