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Gas Prices Rise for Third Straight Week

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Average gasoline prices in the U.S. have continued their rise, posting a 4 cent per gallon rise over the last week to $2.43 per gallon, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 10 million individual price reports covering 135,000 gas stations across the United States. The average price of diesel rose 3.1 cents to $3.00 per gallon.

“Gas prices continued to heat up across much of the country over the last week as every area of the country has now started the first step in transitioning to summer gasoline at the same time refiners continue maintenance,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Looking at macroeconomics, rumors of a U.S.-China trade deal may push oil prices higher as it would likely lead to increasing economic growth rates in both countries and pushing demand for oil higher. Since gas prices bottomed out nearly two months ago, average gas prices are up 20 cents. We may see another 20 cent hike or so over the next two months, or perhaps greater if there are any refinery kinks that arise. We’ll still be in good shape for summer gas prices to be under their year-ago levels, so all is not lost.”

West Texas Intermediate crude oil posted a small loss last week, closing out the week at $55.80 per barrel, a fall of $1.46 on the week, even after data from the Energy Information Administration showed a large decline in oil inventories and a medium decline in gasoline and distillate inventories. In addition, President Trump’s tweet calling on OPEC to act to stem the rise in oil prices also weighed heavily on the market against bullish data.

In last week’s report from the EIA, oil inventories plunged 8.6 million barrels as oil imports sagged to just 5.9 million barrels per day, a 1.6 million barrel per day drop from the prior week. Crude oil exports remained healthy but fell 331,000 bpd to 3.36 million barrels per day, still close to all-time record highs. Refinery utilization perked up slightly, rising 1.2% to 87.1% as gasoline production rebounded. Utilization remained the lowest in the East Coast region at just 60%, while three of four remaining regions saw above average utilization rates. Overall, weaker utilization rates are expected to continue as refinery turnarounds abound.

At the gas pump, motorists in four out of five states saw prices rising as 19 of the 20 largest moves in gas price averages were increases. The most common price witnessed across the country was $2.19 per gallon, down from $2.29 a week ago, while $2.39 per gallon was the second most common price, replacing $2.09 a week ago and $2.29 the third most common price, $2.49 the fourth most common and $2.15 the fifth most common. Sub-$2 per gallon prices all but disappeared in the last week, falling from 1,558 to start the week to just 410 yesterday or just 0.3% of the nation’s stations, from a peak of 44% on January 9.

Gasoline prices will likely continue to trend higher in upcoming weeks as maintenance and the transition to cleaner gasoline continues. Lowest average gas prices can be found in Arkansas at $2.177 per gallon, followed by Missouri ($2.180) and Mississippi ($2.183). The nation’s highest prices can be found in California ($3.312), Hawaii ($3.251) and Alaska ($2.823).

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.