Gasoline demand highest in 4 months


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CINCINNATI — Gasoline demand increased on the week to the highest level (8.7 million b/d) since March as stocks decreased, but the combination wasn’t enough to significantly impact gas price averages across the country.

On the week, the national gas price average only increased one penny to land at $2.19. That is nine cents more than last month and nearly 60 cents less than a year ago.

“The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data shows gasoline demand and supply continue on a roller coaster ride,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokesperson. “As motorists react to unfolding COVID-19 information, we are seeing driving behaviors related to filling-up ebb and flow.”

From May to early July in 2019, gasoline demand averaged 9.5 million b/d. For the same time period this year, demand is measuring at 8 million b/d while gasoline stocks sit, on average, at a 24 million bbl surplus. The low demand and high supply are keeping gas prices relatively cheap for the summertime.

Great Lakes/Central States

Indiana (+11 cents) and Michigan (+9 cents) had the highest gas price increases on the week in the country. Ohio (+4 cents) and Illinois (+4 cents) also land on the top 10 list for largest jump, though their increases are notably less. All other states in the region saw pump price increases of only a few cents, if at all.

Even with the increases, motorists in the region are paying 50 to 75 cents less a gallon to fill up compared to last July. Illinois (-76 cents), Indiana (-69 cents), Michigan (-69 cents) and Ohio (-68 cents) have among the largest year-over-year differences in the country.

With a 2 million bbl draw, the region saw stocks decrease for a third week in a row down to 50.6 million bbl. This drops total stock levels to not only the lowest measurement of the year, but the lowest since December 2019, according to EIA data. If stock levels continue to push lower, the region can expect to see incremental price changes at the pump.

Market dynamics

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by 93 cents to settle at $40.55 per barrel. Domestic crude prices were volatile last week after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories increased by 5.7 million bbl to 539.2 million bbl.

Increasing crude stocks could mean that crude production is still too high given where demand is currently, as new coronavirus outbreaks emerge. If EIA’s data shows another increase in total domestic supply this week, crude prices could decline.

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.

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