Heading into Thanksgiving, the national average price of gasoline has fallen for the third straight week, declining 2.2 cents over the last week to $2.58 per gallon, according to GasBuddy data.
The average price of diesel fell 0.6 cents to $2.99 per gallon.
GasBuddy’s data was compiled from more than 10.5 million individual price reports covering nearly 150,000 gas stations across the country.
“Gas prices have continued to slowly decline over the last week as motorists gear up to hit the road to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the busiest autumn holiday. With a 7% rise in travelers this year, the U.S. is poised to set another record for most Thanksgiving travelers ever,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Motorists who shop around for the next fill up this week could potentially shave 20-50 cents per gallon off their expense by shopping around- be wary of crossing state lines, especially between California and Arizona or Nevada in the West, Illinois and Missouri or Iowa in the Midwest, Pennsylvania and Delaware or New Jersey in the East, and Florida and Alabama in the South. Some of these borders can cost or save motorists 25-95 cents per gallon, so pay attention. We recommend downloading a price-comparison app like GasBuddy to find easy savings that can be better spent on Black Friday deals!”
Oil prices touched a nine-week high last week on optimism over talks between the U.S. and China but faded as the week closed on worry that a deal may fizzle. The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil stood at $57.50 per barrel in early Monday trade, up from $57.20 a week ago.
The price of Brent crude oil stood at $63.28, up slightly from the week ago level of $62.71. Oil prices remain tied to the fate of U.S./China trade talks as the outcome may have an oversized impact on global growth and oil demand. For a fifth straight week, Baker Hughes showed the U.S. oil rig count falling: down 3 to 803 rigs.
Weekly data from the Energy Information Administration last week showed a 1.4 million barrel rise in U.S. oil inventories, which continue to hold 3% above the five-year average for this time of year.
Gasoline inventories also posted a rise of 1.8 million barrels while distillates shed 1 million barrels as heating oil demand rose as temperatures across the country continue to fall.
Refinery utilization continued to improve as refinery maintenance season appears solidly in the rear-view mirror. U.S. utilization rose 1.7% to 89.5% last week, which should lead to gains in refined product inventories in the weeks ahead. Refiners will likely soon begin to draw down oil stocks ahead of the New Year to avoid excess taxes on held inventory.
Gas prices fell in over half of all states with the most common gas price across the country holding at $2.29 per gallon, the same as a week ago, followed by $2.39 and $2.49, also unchanged. The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations was $3.71 per gallon, an 14-cent drop from a week ago, while the lowest 10% averaged $2.12, unchanged from a week ago. The median U.S. price was $2.44, up a penny from a week ago, yet 13 cents under the national average.