Fuel prices are 16 cents more expensive than last year, but that price gap has been shrinking steadily, according to AAA.
This is the smallest year-over-year difference seen in two months.
“At $50/bbl (West Texas Intermediate), crude oil prices are at their cheapest point in a year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “That, plus steady gasoline stock levels and low demand have helped to push the national average lower — a dime cheaper than three weeks ago.”
Today’s national gas price average is $2.43. That is four cents cheaper than last week and 16 cents cheaper than last month. Drivers across the country can find gas for less than $2.25 at 38% of all gas stations.
Great Lakes and Central States
Motorists can find gas for less than $2 per gallon at 28% of Missouri ($2.06) gas stations, 17% in Kentucky ($2.17), 4% in Kansas ($2.1) and 2% in Iowa ($2.22). On the week, gas prices are as much as nine cents cheaper in the region. Michigan (-9 cents) saw the largest weekly decrease and Indiana (-1 cent) saw the smallest decrease in the Great Lakes and Central region.
Regional gas price averages are cheaper on the week and the month, but as much as 23 cents more expensive year-over-year.
Regional gasoline stocks built by 700,000 bbl, pushing total stocks to 58.6 million bbls, per Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. Regional stock levels have not been this healthy since March 2019. Stocks are expected to increase this month and push gas prices even cheaper, with the potential for more states in the region selling gas under the $2 per gallon mark.
South and Southeast
Excluding Florida, 22% of all gas stations in the South and Southeast are selling gas for $2 per gallon or less. This makes the region home to the cheapest gas prices in the country with seven states landing on this top 10 list: Texas ($2.07), Mississippi ($2.10), Louisiana ($2.11), South Carolina ($2.11), Oklahoma ($2.12), Alabama ($2.15) and Arkansas ($2.16).
On the week, gas prices are four to six cents cheaper across the region. Florida (+2 cents) was the only state in the region and country to see an increase at the pump.
Gasoline stocks fell to 93.9 million bbl, according to EIA’s data that shows a draw of 1.9 million bbl. Despite the decline, gas prices decreased, indicating stocks remain at a comfortable level. Gas prices can be expected to continue declining in the coming week.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
With a six-cent decrease, Maryland ($2.32) saw the largest weekly decline in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. Virginia ($2.21), North Carolina ($2.24), New Jersey ($2.49) and West Virginia ($2.40) saw nickel declines and rounded-out the largest decreases in the region on the week.
Gas price in Delaware (-23 cents) and Maryland (-22 cents) are substantially lower than last month, landing them on the top five list of largest monthly decreases.
With a nearly 1 million bbl increase, regional gasoline stocks sit right under 67 million bbl. EIA historical stock data shows that the region has bounced back — in terms of stock levels following last year’s closure of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery.
In fact, stocks are at a 2 million bbl deficit year-over-year, which many analysist might have thought would be higher.
Pump prices in the West Coast region continue to drop amid winter driving season. On the week, Hawaii (-2 cents) and Nevada (-2 cents) saw the largest decreases in the region. Hawaii ($3.61) and California ($3.51) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($3.08), Oregon ($2.97), Nevada ($2.94), Alaska ($2.93) and Arizona ($2.79) follow.
According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased by 336,000 bbl to 32.2 million bbl. The current supply level is approximately 400,000 bbl lower than 2019’s level at this time. Pump prices are expected to continue decreasing this week, as winter demand remains low amid relatively stable stock levels.
Gas prices are two to three cents cheaper than last week in the Rockies region: Colorado (-3 cents), Utah (-3 cents), Montana (-2 cents), Wyoming (-2 cents) and Idaho (-1 cents).
Four of the five Rockies states rank among the top 20 most expensive gas price averages in the country: Idaho ($2.55) ranks 13th, Utah ($2.54) ranks 14th, Wyoming ($2.52) ranks 15th and Colorado ($2.49) ranks 19th. At $2.48, Montana ranks 21st.
Gasoline stocks continue to set new records for the Rockies region. With the latest stock build of 400,000 bbl, regional stocks total 9.3 million bbl. EIA reports regional refinery utilization at 87% with no major maintenance taking place currently.
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped by 63 cents to settle at $50.32. Crude prices have dropped for the third consecutive week as market concerns continue to increase due to the growing impact of the coronavirus on global travel.
If international travel decreases, global crude demand would likely follow suit and result in lower crude consumption worldwide. Prices could decrease again this week if concerns about the virus continue to weigh on the crude oil market.
Declining crude prices were contained slightly toward the end of last week after reports emerged that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is considering deeper production cuts to offset demand concerns due to the coronavirus.
OPEC and its partners are scheduled to meet in Vienna, Austria, on March 5 and 6 to review their existing 1.7 million b/d production reduction agreement, but the cartel said that it may consider having the meeting sooner as the global public health crisis grows.