CINCINNATI – At $2.43, the national gas price average is just one penny more expensive than gas prices at this time last year. Gas prices have not been cheaper year-over-year since before Thanksgiving last November. Today’s average is also four cents cheaper than both a week and a month ago.
“Gas prices pushed cheaper year-over-year in the last 30 days, going from 22 cents to just one cent more expensive,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokesperson. “Healthy stock levels and cheaper crude prices have alleviated pump price pains.
“However, maintenance season and the upcoming switchover to summer blend could break the downward trend in coming weeks, but we are also watching the impact of the coronavirus and what that could do to demand.”
The ability to tap into robust U.S. gasoline stocks has contributed to price declines at the pump. Stocks dipped for a second week, by 2.7 million bbl, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest report. Overall stock levels measure at 256.3 million bbl, which is comparable to this time last year. Demand jumped slightly above 9 million b/d.
• The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Ohio (-15 cents), Michigan (-11 cents), Indiana (-10 cents), Delaware (-6 cents), Florida (-6 cents), Oklahoma (-6 cents), Colorado (-5 cents), Georgia (-5 cents), Pennsylvania (-4 cents) and Texas (-4 cents).
• The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Texas ($2.12), Mississippi ($2.12), Louisiana ($2.14), Oklahoma ($2.14), Missouri ($2.16), South Carolina ($2.16), Arkansas ($2.17), Alabama ($2.17), Kansas ($2.20) and Virginia ($2.21).
As prices dipped at the pump, regional gasoline stocks held relatively steady at 59 million bbl. This healthy level amid robust refinery utilization (90%), as reported by the EIA, should help to keep gas prices stable in the week ahead.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased by $2.33 to settle at $44.76. Crude prices have not been this low since December 2018. The significant decrease in crude prices has been led by the growing impact of the coronavirus.
The market continues to worry that the impact of the virus will lead to a reduction in global economic growth and global travel, with crude demand expected to decrease.
Until it appears that the international public health threat from the virus decreases and China’s industrial sector recovers from the impact of the virus on production, crude prices are likely to continue facing downward pressure.
AAA is the most comprehensive resource for gas prices. AAA reports reflect actual prices from credit card transactions at more than 100,000 gas stations in the U.S. Check the latest gas prices anytime by visiting the AAA Gas Prices site.