(GasBuddy) Against a backdrop of oil prices faltering, the nation’s average gas price has moved lower, falling 2.5 cents in the last week to $2.45 per gallon, less than a penny away from the lowest level since Hurricane Harvey caused prices to surge.
“With the exception of some Great Lakes states where prices tend to be volatile, average gas prices moved lower in nearly the entire country in the last week,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Thank a large build in gasoline inventories and gasoline demand numbers that have finally seen a reprieve from levels that were more consistent with summer months than autumn. With OPEC extending its oil production cuts, there is solid evidence that U.S. oil producers will fill in at least some of the void with rig counts remaining strong. As the focus continues to broaden beyond the rest of the year, motorists who found this year’s gas prices high may want to begin setting aside some additional funds for next year as all signs continue to point to higher prices than this year.”
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration highlighted a second straight week of gasoline demand under 9 million barrels per day, typical for this time of year, yet a large and sudden drop from motorists that had been continuing to pump gasoline at levels approaching traditional summer levels. In addition, refiners cranked up production to 93.8 percent of capacity, likely contributing to the large 6.8 million barrel rise in gasoline inventories. Gasoline supply has recovered due to the lower demand in the last two weeks, largely helping put downward pressure on retail gasoline prices.
But while prices fell in a solid majority of states, several Great Lakes states saw prices climb, due to a regional phenomenon called price cycling, which sees large drops in price only to be followed by restoration in price and then again falling prices, completing the cycle. It was only these states that saw prices rise, ruining an otherwise countrywide drop in gas prices.
Across the country, the largest changes in average gas prices by state: Delaware (-5 cents), Colorado (-5 cents), Maine (-4 cents), Oklahoma (-4 cents), Vermont (-4 cents), Ohio (+4 cents), Kentucky (-3 cents), Missouri (-3 cents), South Carolina (-3 cents) and South Dakota (-3 cents).
States with the lowest average gas prices: Alabama ($2.18), Missouri ($2.18), Oklahoma ($2.19), Mississippi ($2.20), South Carolina ($2.20), Arkansas ($2.21), Texas ($2.23), Tennessee ($2.23), Louisiana ($2.25) and Kansas ($2.27)
States with the highest average gas prices: Hawaii ($3.29), Alaska ($3.22), California ($3.15), Washington ($2.91), Oregon ($2.78), Pennsylvania ($2.73), Nevada ($2.72), Connecticut ($2.69), New York ($2.67) and Montana ($2.62).
Gasoline prices are poised to point lower for at least the early portion of the week ahead, while any rebound in oil prices could affect retail gasoline prices toward the weekend.