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Tampa, FL – At $2.57, AAA says the national gas price average is a penny cheaper on the week. The majority of states saw minimal movement at the pump in the last week, several saw decreases of up to four cents while fewer than a dozen states saw gas prices increase.
“Since the end of October, gasoline demand has mostly decreased as gasoline stocks have mostly increased, paving the way for cheaper gas prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.
“AAA expects stocks to continue to grow and drive gas prices even cheaper through year-end,” Casselano stated.
Today’s national average is a nickel cheaper than last month, but 15-cents more expensive than this time last year.
Great Lakes and Central States
Three Great Lakes and Central States land on the top 10 list for the country’s largest changes on the week: Ohio (-12 cents), Michigan (+10 cents), and Indiana (+7 cents).
Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that both regional refinery rates and gasoline stocks built on the week. Regional refineries rates bumped up 3% to 94% while stocks increased by 800,000 bbl. While many states saw gas prices increase, this combination helped to keep those changes minimal for motorists in the region.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Compared to a month ago and a week ago, motorists in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states are seeing mostly cheaper gas prices. On the week, not one state saw gas prices increase and Pennsylvania (-3 cents) saw the largest decrease. On the month, only Washington, D.C. (+1 cent) and Rhode Island (+1 cent) have more expensive averages. Comparing prices to this time last year, the region is seeing a good bit of volatility. Gas prices range from as much as 17 cents more expensive to nearly a dime cheaper.
In the region, gas prices range from $2.76 in Pennsylvania to $2.30 in Virginia.
With a substantial 1.6 million bbl increase to gasoline stocks in EIA’s latest weekly report, it’s no surprise to see cheaper weekly gas prices. At 60.7 million bbl, stocks sit at their highest level since mid-October. More so, at 69%, refinery rates are at their highest since the end of August. High run rates and healthy stock levels are supporting cheaper gas prices for motorists in the region.
South and Southeast
In the South and Southeast, Florida (+8 cents), Louisiana (+3 cents) and Tennessee (+2 cents) have more expensive gas prices averages compared to last week.
Coincidently, compared to one month ago, Florida (+11 cents) and Louisiana (+4 cents) are also the only two states in the region to have more expensive gas prices. Otherwise, motorists in the region are paying as much as nine-cents less to fill-up than they were in early November.
EIA data shows that regional gasoline stocks sit at nearly 83 million bbl, which is the highest level since mid-August. At 94%, regional refinery rates are at their highest since early September. AAA expects inventory levels to continue to build, which will help keep gas prices cheaper in the month ahead.
On the week, pump prices in the region continue to decline, with some states seeing the largest weekly drops in the country. California (-10 cents), Nevada (-7 cents) and Oregon (-6 cents) saw the largest decreases in the region.
California ($3.70) and Hawaii ($3.64) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.27), Nevada ($3.21), Oregon ($3.13), Alaska ($3.08) and Arizona ($2.90) follow.
Increased gasoline stocks continue to help put downward pressure on pump prices, as demand remains robust. According to EIA’s report for the week ending on November 29, gas stocks in the region grew by nearly 720,000 bbl, bringing the total to 29.59 million bbl. The current supply level is 1.86 million bbl higher than last year’s level at this time, which will likely continue to help prices in the region decline throughout the week.
Utah (-5 cents) and Idaho (-4 cents) land on two top 10 lists this week: largest change and most expensive average. Even with the decreases at the pump, Idaho ($2.90) and Utah ($2.87) state averages rank as the seventh and ninth most expensive at the start of the week. Other states in the region also carry pricey averages: Colorado ($2.79), Wyoming ($2.71) and Montana ($2.66) rank as the 10th, 12th and 16th, respectively.
For a second week, gasoline stocks saw a minimal increase (200,000 bbl) to sit at 7.2 million bbl, per EIA data. Since the beginning of November, the region has seen mostly weekly builds in stocks. If this trend continues, gas prices are likely to decline through the end of the month.
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 77 cents to settle at $59.20. Crude prices rose after reports emerged that OPEC and its partners announced an agreement to cut crude production by an additional 500,000 b/d to help maintain prices amid market fears of slowing global demand.
The new OPEC production reduction agreement brings the total production cut to 1.7 million b/d — which is about 100,000 b/d more than projected — beginning on January 1st, 2020. The reduction in global crude supply is expected to help drain the market, which will likely be oversupplied during the first half of next year. It is unclear how long the new agreement will be in place, but OPEC will likely review it and announce any amendments at its next meetings on March 5 and 6 in Vienna, Austria.
One other contributing factor, if concerns around global crude demand due to the trade war between China and the U.S. ease this week, crude prices could increase again.
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.
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