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Gas Prices Continue to Move Higher as 2018 Begins

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The national average price for gasoline has advanced to $2.49 per gallon, the highest in over a month as cold weather propels oil prices and consumption higher.

“It’s mostly a happy New Year as gas prices remain in the low-to-mid $2 per gallon range, but it’s not quite as happy as could be as it’s the priciest start to a New Year since 2014,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “2017 wrapped up a fairly tame year, but keep in mind oil prices are among the highest we’ve witnessed in over two years, and we’re in the middle of a severe cold snap, one which is likely to drive up demand for heating oil, propane and other petroleum products, which is certainly a bullish start to the year. GasBuddy’s 2018 Annual Fuel Outlook, being released tomorrow morning, will be giving motorists a good look at what to expect in the year ahead. In looking at our own report card from our 2017 Fuel Outlook, we had forecast a yearly average gas price of $2.49 per gallon and were less than 10 cents away from hitting it head-on. Anyone who’s got a tank to fill – whether gas or diesel – will want to stay in the know for what’s coming in the year ahead.”

41 of the nation’s 50 states saw average gasoline prices rise in the last week, led again by Great Lakes states who’ve continued to be affected by refinery snags in the region and extreme cold weather may again weigh on refineries in the region. In addition, oil prices surpassed $60 per barrel, the highest level since June 2015 on cold weather pushing demand higher and oil inventories that have declined in recent weeks.

According to the Energy Information Administration in last week’s delayed report, oil inventories fell another 4.6 million barrels in the last week and begin 2018 some 54 million barrels lower than last year, and stand in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Gasoline inventories saw a small increase of 600,000 barrels in the last week and begin the year at nearly the same level as a year ago. Gasoline demand closed the year down 0.9% versus 2016, a number that will likely be revised to reflect stronger demand as new data becomes available in the months ahead. Refineries saw utilization rise to 95.7%, a strong showing, inputting a record amount of oil into their refineries.

Looking state-by-state, the largest weekly changes in average gas prices were seen in: Delaware (+14 cents), Michigan (+10 cents), Ohio (+10 cents), Kentucky (+8 cents), Maryland (+7 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), Florida (+7 cents), Florida (+7 cents), Illinois (+6 cents) and New Jersey (+5 cents).

States with the lowest average gasoline prices: Missouri ($2.21), Oklahoma ($2.21), Alabama ($2.21), Arkansas ($2.21), Mississippi ($2.23), South Carolina ($2.24), Tennessee ($2.25), Texas ($2.25), Louisiana ($2.25) and Kansas ($2.27).

States with the highest average gasoline prices: Hawaii ($3.29), California ($3.12), Alaska ($3.06), Washington ($2.86), Pennsylvania ($2.74), Oregon ($2.74), Nevada ($2.71), Michigan ($2.68), Connecticut ($2.64) and New York ($2.64).

Gas prices are likely to increase across over half of the country in the week ahead due to cold weather demand rising, refinery snags on the West Coast and Great Lakes, and oil prices that have so far held over $60 per barrel. Prices may weaken towards the end of the month and February, so long as the cold weather breaks soon.

GasBuddy is a smartphone app connecting drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop. GasBuddy is the leader in crowdsourced information to help drivers find the best gas prices, closest stations, friendliest service, cleanest restrooms, tastiest coffee and much more. GasBuddy is the leading source for the most accurate, real-time fuel prices at more than 140,000 gas stations in the U.S., Canada and Australia.