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National Average Rises Again, but Relief Around the Corner

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The national average gasoline price has pushed higher as the summer driving season begins, rising two cents per gallon in the last week to $2.97 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy’s latest weekly survey of 135,000 gas stations.

Looking at the national average day-by-day, however, tells a different story. Rumors began to swirl last week that OPEC was mulling over raising oil production in the weeks ahead. Oil prices plummeted nearly $5 per barrel as a result, and gasoline prices began moving slightly lower over the Memorial Day weekend. That drop appears likely to continue this week.

“As the summer driving season gets underway, there’s reason to be optimistic and perhaps happy: OPEC appears ready to raise crude oil production to meet higher global demand, dashing at least for now, the likelihood of seeing the national average hit that ugly $3/gallon mark,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “For now, the national average peaked just under that level and prices are now starting to move ever-so-slowly lower, but more drops are coming. Crude oil dropped to $66.84 per barrel in electronic trading last night, representing a $5 per barrel loss in less than a week. I can confidently say that gas prices will be moving lower this week and perhaps into next week, so long as nothing comes out of left field to derail the plummet in oil prices. Motorists beware, however, the fall in gas prices will be slow to arrive at some stations and quick at others, so before gleefully filling up, check if you’re getting the best deal in the area.”

Likely helping push oil prices lower last week was weekly data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing an unexpectedly large rise in oil inventories of nearly 6 million barrels, though still down 78 million barrels versus a year ago. In addition, gasoline inventories also rose, posting a gain of nearly 2 million barrels, yet remained slightly under their year-ago levels. Refinery utilization, a key metric of how much oil refineries are processing, rose to 91.8% last week, a sign that refiners are keeping slightly ahead of healthy demand.

Looking state-by-state, the largest weekly changes in average gas prices were seen in: Wyoming (+10 cents), Indiana (-7 cents), Arizona (+6 cents), Alaska (+5 cents), Colorado (+5 cents), South Dakota (+5 cents), Illinois (+5 cents), Washington (+4 cents), North Dakota (+4 cents) and Wisconsin (+4 cents)

States with the lowest average gasoline prices: South Carolina ($2.64), Mississippi ($2.65), Alabama ($2.66), Oklahoma ($2.67), Louisiana ($2.68), Arkansas ($2.69), Missouri ($2.71), Tennessee ($2.72), Kansas ($2.73) and Texas ($2.75).

States with the highest average gasoline prices: California ($3.75), Hawaii ($3.68), Washington ($3.44), Alaska ($3.38), Oregon ($3.34), Nevada ($3.32), Idaho ($3.17), Utah ($3.14), Connecticut ($3.13) and Pennsylvania ($3.10).

With oil prices slumping the last few trading days, motorists across much of the country are likely to see gas prices trending lower in the week ahead thanks to the possibility of OPEC raising crude oil production.

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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