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Gas Prices Edge Higher as Oil Rebounds

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The national average price for a gallon of gasoline has risen 0.5 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.84 per gallon, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 10 million individual price reports. The average price of diesel also rose, tacking on 0.4 cents to an average of $3.18 per gallon.

“With several areas of tropical weather moving away from the U.S. comes some breathing room for energy markets, with oil prices under pressure as the risk premium subsides, setting the stage for some relief at the gas pump as we progress through the week,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Despite the tremendous blow and flooding of the Carolinas, Florence’s impact on oil delivery and refinery operations was next to nothing. Florence may make an impact on local pipelines in Florence’s path with power loss and flooding possible issues, but problems will be worked around as life pauses in these areas and where we see considerable demand destruction taking place as floods keep motorists from moving. In addition, this week marks the first full week of cheaper winter gasoline across most of the country as EPA regulations see their seasonal ease. This, coupled with lower demand in the weeks ahead, will push retail gasoline prices lower.”

Much of the country moved away from the more stringent and expensive summer gasoline as early as Sunday, while areas of California will continue to use the stricter blend for several weeks, depending on area. “Summer gasoline” is a specification of gasoline used June 1 to September 15 countrywide “to reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline that contribute to ground-level ozone and diminish the effects of ozone-related health problems,” according to EPA.

Oil prices have rebounded slightly in the last week after violence in Libya caused worries about crude oil exports from the OPEC member. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was seen trading at $69.49 per barrel, up from $67.99 per barrel to open trading a week ago. Also perhaps helping push oil prices higher was a large 5.3 million barrel decline in U.S. oil inventories, according to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly report. Gasoline inventories, meanwhile, posting a 1.2 million barrel rise while distillate inventories jumped 6.1 million barrels. In addition, refineries ran at an average 97.1% of ahead of Hurricane Florence, a number that was not impacted by the storm.

Areas hit by Hurricane Florence were still battling to recover early Monday: 20% of North Carolina’s gas stations were still without gasoline, while nearly 10% of them were out of power. Nearly 17% of diesel pumps were dry as well, but some slight improvements were seen since on all fronts since Sunday. In North Carolina, the outages were worst in Wilmington, where at least 70% of stations were reported out of gas. In Greenville/New Bern, 56% were without gas, but the number was improving from 63% on Sunday. In Raleigh/Durham, nearly 26% of stations were still without fuel. Also, hard hit was South Carolina, where 9.2% of stations statewide were without gasoline and over 5% were reported without power. Over 8% were out of diesel fuel as well. The situation will likely take time to improve but fuel supply has not stopped flowing. The problem for the Carolinas remains a logistics issue as stations struggle to catch back up to normal after the storm. As of Monday morning, no fuel pipeline disruptions have been reported, according to the Department of Energy.

States with the lowest average prices: Alabama ($2.51), Mississippi ($2.52), Louisiana ($2.55), Arkansas ($2.56), South Carolina ($2.57), Tennessee ($2.57), Texas ($2.59), Oklahoma ($2.60), Virginia ($2.62) and Missouri ($2.62).

States with the highest average prices: Hawaii ($3.70), California ($3.62), Washington ($3.36), Alaska ($3.27), Oregon ($3.24), Idaho ($3.19), Nevada ($3.19), Utah ($3.11) and Pennsylvania ($3.06), Connecticut ($3.01).

GasBuddy is a company that connects drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop. As the leading source for crowdsourced, real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas station convenience stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia, millions of drivers use the GasBuddy app and website every day to find gas station convenience stores based on fuel prices, location and ratings/reviews. GasBuddy’s first-of-its-kind fuel savings program, Pay with GasBuddy, has saved Americans more than $3.6 million at the pumps since its launch in 2017.