Hitting $2.81, today’s national gas price average has reached the highest price per gallon since November 2014. That year, pump prices averaged $3.34, peaking at $3.70 in April and bottoming out at $2.25 in December. This year’s pump prices will not be reminiscent of 2014, but for motorists, filling-up is packing an unwanted punch to wallets.
“Motorist have been spoiled the past few years with inexpensive gas prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “We expect prices to continue increasing, potentially another 10 cents, through Memorial Day and then will likely stabilize during the summer, with the understanding that if demand spikes, prices are likely to follow.”
On the week, gasoline demand took a notable drop from its record high the previous week, falling by 774,000 b/d, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). At 9.083 million b/d, gasoline demand is now more in line with rates typically seen during the spring driving season.
Today’s national gas price average is 16-cents more expensive than last month and 43-cents more expensive that last year at this time.
The nation’s top 10 states with the largest weekly increases are: Missouri (+9 cents), Delaware (+9 cents), Iowa (+8 cents), Utah (+7 cents), Georgia (+7 cents), New Jersey (+7 cents), Wyoming (+7 cents), Kentucky (+7 cents), Nebraska (+7 cents) and Wisconsin (+7 cents).
The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.61), California ($3.61), Washington ($3.29), Alaska ($3.25), Nevada ($3.23), Oregon ($3.19), Utah ($3.09), Idaho ($3.09), Pennsylvania ($3.02) and Connecticut ($2.95).
Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the highest in the nation: Hawaii ($3.61), California ($3.61), Washington ($3.29), Alaska ($3.25), Nevada ($3.23) and Oregon ($3.19). On the week, prices in the region are mostly up; with Nevada (+7 cents) leading the way and Alaska (+2 cents) seeing the smallest gain.
When looking at year-on-year increases, California (+62 cents) tops the list of all states in the country, followed by Arizona (+55 cents), Hawaii (+54 cents), Nevada (+52 cents), Oregon (+43 cents), Washington (+38 cents) and Alaska (+32 cents).
For the fifth consecutive week, gasoline stocks in the region have fallen. At 29.6 million bbl for the week ending on April 20, inventories in the region are at their lowest point since November 2017. Although stocks are below the level they were at last year, they are still higher than the five year average for the region.
Great Lakes and Central
Missouri (+9 cents)has the largest one-week jump at the pump in the nation and the region. Iowa (+8 cents), Wisconsin (+7 cents) and Kentucky (+7 cents) also land on the top 10 states list with the largest increase. At $2.92, Michigan carries the most expensive gas price average in the region followed by Illinois ($2.87), Indiana ($2.78), Ohio ($2.75) and Kentucky ($2.74).
Comparing pump prices to those this time last year, Indiana motorists are paying 53-cents more to fill-up. This is the most expensive year-over-year difference in gas prices of any state in the region.
In the coming days, some regional states may see prices spike a little higher than other surrounding states – including Wisconsin ($2.68), Michigan ($2.92) and Minnesota ($2.61) – following fires that broke out at Husky Energy’s refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, last Thursday. The impact on prices (short or long term) will be determined by the extent of damage to the refinery. According to the company’s website, the 50,000 b/d refinery processes light had heavy crude oil, in addition to asphalt, gasoline, diesel and heavy fuel oils.
With a 430,000 bbl draw, inventories in the region fall to 56.6 million bbl according to the latest EIA data.
South and Southeast
Motorists in South Carolina (+48 cents) and Georgia (+47 cents) are paying nearly 50-cents more a gallon to fill-up compared to one year ago and are among the top 10 states with the largest year-over-year change. Notably, at this time last year, South Carolina carried the cheapest gas in the country. Fast-forward to today, the Palmetto state’s average is $2.57, which is the eight cheapest in the country. In the region, Oklahoma ($2.52), Arkansas ($2.52), Mississippi ($2.54), Louisiana ($2.54), and Alabama ($2.56) all have cheaper gas price averages than South Carolina and are the cheapest in the country.
On the week, Georgia’s ($2.73) state average took the biggest jump in the region with a 7-cent increase, but Florida ($2.74) and New Mexico ($2.76) sell the most expensive gas among all South and Southeast states.
The region saw a 1.5 million bbl add, the largest build of any region on the week according to the EIA. That bumps gasoline inventories to 82.5 million bbl – 3.3 million above levels at this time last year.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Gas prices have spiked as much as 15 cents in the last 14 days for five Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states including: Rhode Island (+17 cents), Connecticut (+17 cents), New Jersey (+18 cents), Massachusetts (+15 cents) and Delaware (+15 cents).
In the region, motorists are finding prices $2.81 or more in nine states: Pennsylvania ($3.02), Connecticut ($2.95), New York ($2.94), Washington, D.C. ($2.91), New Jersey ($2.89), Rhode Island ($2.83), Vermont ($2.82) and Maine ($2.82) and Massachusetts ($2.81). The cheapest state average is $2.62 in Virginia.
Gasoline inventories saw a 544 million bbl gain after last week’s draw. Inventories have remained above the 60 million bbl mark throughout the month of April. The latest EIA data shows overall inventories are the region lag 6 million bbl behind totals last year at this time.
Compared to one month ago, motorists in Utah (+41 cents) and Idaho (+31 cents) have seen the largest jump in gas prices in the country. On the month, prices have increased across the region: Wyoming (+17 cents), Colorado (+14 cents) and Montana (+11 cents).
At $3.09 in Utah and Idaho, gas prices are at their highest point since November 2014. With summer tourist season ahead, prices are likely to continue to rise across the region.
Gasoline inventories added 82,000 bbl on the week after three weeks of straight declines, according to the latest EIA data. Gasoline inventories have been typically lower for April this year compared to past years, but not alarming deficits.
Oil market dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped 9-cents to settle at $68.10. Following EIA’s report that revealed crude inventories moved higher by 2.2 million bbl, oil prices were mostly stable last week, but remained near the three year highs they reached earlier this month.
Total U.S. crude oil output increased to 10.586 million b/d. The big news in U.S. crude production this week is in exports, which surged to 2.331 million b/d last week – the highest weekly estimate ever on record from the EIA. The new record high bested the last record, which was set in mid-February of this year. Records are a direct result of the federal ban on crude exports being lifted in 2015.
Crude production in the U.S. is likely to continue its ascent. It has grown considerably alongside the total number of active rigs. According to Baker Hughes, the total number of rigs increased by five last week, bringing the total to 825. There are 128 more rigs this year than last year at this time.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.