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Gas Prices Rise For Now, Relief In Sight as Oil Drops Under $70

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For the second straight week, the national average gas price has moved higher, rising 1 cent to $2.875 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy data compiled from over 10 million price reports from over 135,000 stations in the last week.

“While just over half of the nation’s states saw average prices moving lower, the other half saw prices fall. A very mixed week as oil prices collapsed Wednesday, opening the door for a round of late-week price drops, but motorists shouldn’t be fooled- it may not last long,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Two things are for sure in one’s lifespan: death and taxes, but you can add uncertainty at the pump, especially this summer. President Trump has talked about tapping into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to put downward pressure on oil prices, but this would be a grave mistake and only lead to minuscule drops at the pump and only temporarily. Last week’s plummet in oil prices came thanks to Libya signaling it would resume oil exports, if there’s anything to learn here it’s that President Trump has little power over global supply and demand, and if anything, there’s few options for the President to bring real change to gas pumps: slow motorists appetite for fuels, see sustainable increases in production or slow down the abrasive and inflammatory rhetoric that spooks the oil market. Until then, there’s only one predictable outcome for gas prices for the remainder of the summer: volatile.”

After starting last week at nearly $74 per barrel, WTI has fallen under $70 this morning to $68.67 as of 11am ET. Price stumbled Wednesday after Libya indicated it was ramping up oil exports after a closure at ports halted the flow of oil. In addition, data from Saudi Arabia showed production rising last month, a sign that the country was taking steps to increase oil production after meeting June 22.

Data from the Energy Information Administration showed a large 12.6 million barrel decrease in crude oil inventories, falling to their lowest level in several years at 405 million barrels. Gasoline inventories saw a smaller decline, falling 700,000 barrels to 239 million barrels, just ahead of their year-ago levels. Distillate inventories rose 4.1 million barrels but still stand 12% lower than last year. Refinery utilization sagged slightly to 96.7% as some minor kinks surfaced. The Midwest region saw utilization fall the most, off 1.3% versus the prior week, while the West Coast saw utilization rise the most, up 1.1% to 97.7%. Overall petroleum supply in the U.S. stand 135 million barrels lower than a year ago, or some 10%.

Largest weekly gas price changes: Michigan (+12 cents), Delaware (+8 cents), Florida (+8 cents), Utah (-5 cents), Rhode Island (-4 cents), Indiana (+3 cents), Nebraska (+3 cents), Ohio (+3 cents), Arizona (-3 cents) and Kentucky (+2 cents).

Lowest average gas prices: Mississippi ($2.55), Alabama ($2.55), South Carolina ($2.56), Arkansas ($2.60), Missouri ($2.60), Louisiana ($2.61), Tennessee ($2.61), Oklahoma ($2.61), Virginia ($2.64) and Kansas ($2.66).

Highest average gas prices: Hawaii ($3.75), California ($3.64), Washington ($3.41), Alaska ($3.36), Nevada ($3.32), Oregon ($3.29), Utah ($3.16), Idaho ($3.15), Connecticut ($3.09) and Pennsylvania ($3.04).

This week is shaping up to be better than the previous two: with oil prices showing signs of buckling, the national average may reverse course slightly with more states seeing gas prices drop than rise as a result.

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.

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