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Gas Prices Move Sideways as Sub-$2 Prices Fade

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Low gas prices are beginning to disappear while the national average remains unchanged versus a week ago at $2.25 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 10 million individual price reports.

“The national average saw limited upward movement in the last week, while the lowest price stations overall were the locations that saw prices tick higher. The percent of gas stations in the U.S. selling under $2 per gallon fell from 37% to 27% over the last week as oil prices hold above $53 per barrel. We’re also starting to see early refineries begin seasonal maintenance, which may aid prices moving higher in the weeks ahead,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Part of where gas prices go from here and how quickly depends on whether or not politicians can make a long-term budget agreement. Another prolonged shutdown will hurt the economy and likely keep gas prices more muted. In addition, watch for any progress of a broad trade deal with China. Even the sub-zero temperatures expected in many areas could play a role in gasoline prices, diesel prices and heating oil: it may keep Americans at home, using more heavy oils to heat their home.”

Despite oil’s weekly value falling marginally last week, it is still on track to record the biggest gain for January going back 14 years, a month in which prices tend to weaken. Still, morning trades are showing more signs of apprehension given weaker Chinese economic data, the start of trade talks between the U.S. and China and uncertainty over the deteriorating situation in Venezuela. With WTI crude oil down nearly one and a half dollars to $52.14 per barrel and Brent crude off by the same amount to $60.22, refined products are caught in the downdraft with both gasoline and diesel giving up over 4 cents a gallon.

The outlook for demand in oil products appears to be in question as China reported this morning a second monthly decline in business earnings, despite easing of monetary policy and borrowing requirements there. Considering the torrid pace of oil demand there in 2018, the outlook for energy markets appears to be tending towards bearish territory. News of additional oil rigs in Baker Hughes weekly count may also have investors nervous of more production in a market that may well be looking a tad oversupplied.

Gasoline inventories stand at high levels as refineries prepare to enter maintenance season, which typically sees the bulk of maintenance happen starting in mid-February lasting through April. The freezing temperatures predicted to grip much of the country this week is also likely to weaken gasoline demand.

Average gas prices rose in 19 states versus a week ago while declining in 30 and remaining unchanged in just one. Leading the biggest change in average prices versus last week: North Carolina (+5.6cpg), Alaska (-5.4cpg), Connecticut (-5.4cpg), Idaho (-5.4cpg) and Georgia (+5.0cpg).

States with the lowest average gas prices: Oklahoma ($1.88), Missouri ($1.92), Arkansas ($1.92), Louisiana ($1.95) and Mississippi ($1.96).

States with the highest average gas prices: Hawaii ($3.48), California ($3.23), Washington ($2.89), Nevada ($2.84) and Alaska ($2.84).

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 $6 million at the pumps since its launch in 2017.