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Gas Prices Plunge to Lowest Since April

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For the fourth straight week, gas prices have continued to fall: the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is down 7.0 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.73 per gallon, the lowest level in over 200 days, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 10 million individual price reports. The national average price of diesel saw modest relief as well, falling 1.4 cents to an average of $3.27 per gallon.

“Motorists have just enjoyed the largest one week decline in average gas prices in 2018 with the national average falling to its lowest level since April,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Oil markets have been weak as refinery maintenance season has slowed down crude oil inputs, leading to oil inventories that have risen noticeably. In addition, jitters over the economy and stock market have helped to push values down. But beware- any politician taking credit ahead of the elections is absolutely pulling your leg. We should see prices move lower yet again- but this behavior is par for the course every autumn. In addition, sanctions on Iran were reimposed yesterday, but while some countries that import oil from Iran have waivers, those waivers may be temporary- so the drop at the pump may not continue indefinitely.”

Energy markets suffered widespread losses last week, continuing from a month of declines that have seen WTI and Dated Brent crude oil shed nearly $13 per barrel and pivot decisively to correction territory as traders and analysts alike appear convinced that U.S. trade sanctions on Iran will have no appreciable effect global oil supplies. While the U.S. Secretary of State has issued temporary waivers to several oil-dependent nations like India, Japan and South Korea, the exemptions may prove redundant and lead to unexpected consequences in the near term, especially with this morning’s clarification by the State Department.

Meanwhile, trade negotiations between the U.S. and China appear to be showing a glimpse of hope and could prove helpful in restoring lost value in crude oil, especially if, as expected, hard numbers on the impact of embargoed Iranian barrels, now estimated to be 1.7 million barrels a day, gains traction.

The week ahead appears to favor a wait-and-see approach as the pervasive belief of a well-supplied global oil market may not be all that it appears to be. Global crude spare capacity and floating oil inventories are at multi-year lows while demand for petroleum products continues to be strong. Colder weather and lower than usual distillate inventories in Europe are also likely to see prices pull up, even before the total effect of embargoed Iranian barrels are tabulated.

The second week of November will show more activity as larger geopolitical events move from speculation to reality, be it U.S. trade with China or unmet reduced global crude production. American refiners emerging from longer than expected turnarounds could also serve as a floor for oil prices and a basis for partial recovery before the Thanksgiving weekend.

48 states saw average gas prices decline in the last week, while Alaska and Oregon were the only states where average gas prices rose. Leading decliners: Michigan (-10 cents), Ohio (-9 cents), Delaware (-9 cents), Kentucky (-8 cents) and California (-7 cents).

States with the lowest average gas prices: Oklahoma ($2.40), Delaware ($2.42), South Carolina ($2.43), Texas ($2.45) and Louisiana ($2.45).

States with the highest average gas prices: Hawaii ($3.83), California ($3.73), Washington ($3.48), Alaska ($3.34) and Oregon ($3.34).

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.