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Gas Prices Hold As Oil Bumps Back Up

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The national average price of gasoline is virtually unchanged versus a week ago, hovering at $2.825 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 10 million price reports over the last week. The national average is still holding two cents lower than a month ago, yet is up nearly 50 cents versus last year- a gap that will narrow considerably this week due to prices soaring a year ago due to Hurricane Harvey.

“Gas prices nationally saw little change in the last week as oil prices saw a mini-resurgence back to $69 per barrel, stifling the broad relief we saw at pumps the week prior,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “With Labor Day ahead, we may see a small rise in the national average this week, depending on oil’s move, but largely this seems like the last week we’ll see elevated prices as demand is set to drop with the conclusion of Labor Day weekend. The Atlantic remains quiet, so there’s little chance of a major disruption for the time being, with the consensus that we’ll soon see prices falling once again across most of the country.”

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil begins the week up 10 cents per barrel to $68.82, a rise of $2.70 per barrel versus last Monday morning on strong global demand and refinery inputs, according to the Energy Information Administration in its weekly report. Given the beginning of the final week of the summer driving season, refined products too are managing to sustain their hard fought values with gasoline posting a penny per a gallon gain and diesel about half a cent. Of course by weeks’ end September contracts for products switches over to the October month, which could see gasoline tumble a dime a gallon or more with diesel strengthening as a proxy for cooler temperatures. For its part, diesel, which has never trailed gasoline this summer, a rarity not seen since 2008, continues to hold at $3.14 per gallon or 61 cents higher than on August 27, 2017, a few days before the hurricane inspired increases of last summer.

The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report showed a large 5.8 million barrel decline in oil inventories, weighing on prices, while gasoline inventories saw a modest build of 1.2 million barrels entering the last week of summer driving season. Distillate inventories also saw a build, rising 1.8 million barrels. Refineries ran nearly full-tilt at 98% of total capacity, a number not often seen in the last decade.

For the week ahead, concerns over the growing U.S.-China trade war will take a lesser role in price discovery as traders consider the more pressing headlines and expectations of an EIA build in oil, gas and diesel inventories in Wednesday’s weekly supply report. While surprises can be expected the bearish numbers are taken in the context of the unusually high refinery utilization rates for end of season runs. When refineries finally enter overdue maintenance schedules, expectations are for several weeks of draws in fuel stockpiles that could be supportive of the relatively higher but stagnant prices seen during the past summer. 

22 states saw average gas prices decline, while Vermont was unchanged and 27 rose.

States with the largest change in average prices in the last week: Ohio (+12 cents), Michigan (+10 cents), Wyoming (+5 cents), Indiana (+3 cents), Virginia (-3 cents), Nebraska (-3 cents), North Dakota (-2 cents), Utah (+2 cents) and Tennessee (-2 cents).

States with the lowest average prices: South Carolina ($2.51), Alabama ($2.52), Mississippi ($2.52), Arkansas ($2.56), Oklahoma ($2.57), Louisiana ($2.57), Tennessee ($2.58), Virginia ($2.60), Missouri ($2.58) and Kansas ($2.59).

States with the highest average prices: Hawaii ($3.71), California ($3.58), Washington ($3.35), Alaska ($3.31), Idaho ($3.24), Oregon ($3.23), Utah ($3.19), Nevada ($3.17), Pennsylvania ($3.02) and Connecticut ($3.01).

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 150,000 gas stations in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

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