Community News

National Average Returns to Rising as Oil Reaches Multi-Month Highs

 
by: GasBuddy
Published: April 8, 2024

 

HUNTINGTON BEACH...After a week in which the national average held unchanged, gas prices have resumed their climb, rising 6.5 cents compared to a week ago at $3.57 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy® data compiled from more than 12 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country. The national average is up 17.1 cents from a month ago but 0.8 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has increased 3.1 cents in the last week and stands at $4.02 per gallon—15 cents lower than one year ago.

“After a brief break, gas prices have leapt back up, driven by extensive refinery maintenance on the West Coast, where prices have increased notably; only a handful of states have seen prices decline over the last week,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “With oil prices rising to nearly $87 per barrel last week, their highest since October, we are not only facing the seasonal factors that push prices up—refinery maintenance, the switch to summer gasoline, and rising demand—but also escalating crude oil prices as OPEC’s production cuts continue to cause declining global oil inventories, with escalations between Iran and Israel adding to concerns of further destabilization. The West Coast is likely to see gas prices continue to jump, and in a week or so, will be joined by the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states as they wrap up the transition to summer gasoline.”

OIL PRICES

As OPEC maintains strict output cuts, oil prices have continued to find support, climbing on geopolitical escalations in the Middle East and worry about Israel and Iran attacking each other amidst rising global demand. However, a glimmer of hope emerged over the weekend as ceasefire talks continue to bring some level of optimism that a deal could be reached. In early Monday trade, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil saw some profit-taking, down 55 cents to $86.36 per barrel, up from $82.85 last Monday. Brent crude oil was also in the red, down 61 cents to $90.56 per barrel, still a nearly $4 gain from last week’s $86.59 per barrel start. Meanwhile, a strong jobs number last week could push the U.S. Federal Reserve to delay the start of interest rate cuts, keeping rising global demand in check. Additional consumer price data from the U.S. and China will arrive this week, providing more of a hint for which way the Fed may be moving.

OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS

Last week’s report from the EIA showed a 3.2 million barrel rise in U.S. crude oil inventories, which remain about 18.5 million barrels lower than a year ago. The SPR rose another 600,000 barrels, but with the Department of Energy suspending its buyback program, increases will slow later this summer. Domestic crude oil production remained at an estimated 13.1 million barrels, according to the EIA. Gasoline inventories saw a robust drop of 4.3 million barrels and stand 5.2 million higher than a year ago, while distillate inventories fell 1.3 million barrels, but are 3.0 million barrels above last year. Implied gasoline demand, EIA’s proxy for retail demand, surged 521,000 bpd higher, likely due to stations filling their underground tanks ahead of the eclipse, bringing demand to 9.24 million barrels per day. Refinery utilization slipped 0.1 percentage points to 88.6%.

FUEL DEMAND

According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy™ fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a drop of 2.12% for the week ending April 6 (Sun-Sat). Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 3.8% in PADD 1, fell 1.5% in PADD 2, fell 2.2% in PADD 3, rose 0.1% in PADD 4, and rose 0.3% in PADD 5. GasBuddy models U.S. gasoline demand at 8.740 million barrels per day for the week ending April 6.

GAS PRICE TRENDS

The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.29 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.39, $3.49, $3.19, and $3.59 rounding out the top five most common prices.

The median U.S. gas price is $3.39 per gallon, up 4 cents from last week and about 18 cents lower than the national average. The top 10% of stations in the country average $5.05 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.00 per gallon.

The states with the lowest average prices: Colorado ($3.01), Mississippi ($3.08), Oklahoma ($3.10).

The states with the highest average prices: California ($5.30), Hawaii ($4.67), and Washington ($4.58).

DIESEL PRICE TRENDS

The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.79, $4.19, $3.69, and $3.89 rounding out the top five most common prices.

The median U.S. diesel price is $3.95 per gallon, up 6 cents from last week and about 8 cents lower than the national average for diesel. Diesel prices at the top 10% of stations in the country average $5.04 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.43 per gallon.

The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Oklahoma ($3.56), Texas ($3.60), and Colorado ($3.62).

 

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