According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular gas rose four cents over the past week to $4.12, reversing the recent dip in pump prices. Upward pricing pressure on concerns that less Russian oil will enter the global market is countered by fears of a COVID-induced economic slowdown in China, the world’s leading oil consumer. These opposing forces are causing the oil price to hover around $100 a barrel.
“As long as the price of oil stays elevated, the price at the pump will struggle to fall,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “Consumers may be catching a little break from March’s record-high prices, but don’t expect any dramatic drops.”
According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by nearly 1 million bbl to 232.3 million bbl last week. Gasoline demand increased slightly from 8.73 million b/d to 8.86 million b/d. Although supply and demand factors would have typically supported elevated pump prices, the fluctuating oil price continues to be the main factor influencing prices at the pump.
Today’s national average for a gallon of gas is $4.12, which is 12 cents less than a month ago, and $1.24 more than a year ago.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Maryland (+13 cents), Delaware (+12 cents), Kansas (+11 cents), South Dakota (+11 cents), Connecticut (+10 cents), Florida (+9 cents), Nebraska (+9 cents), Missouri (+9 cents), Rhode Island (+9 cents) and Washington, D.C. (+8 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Georgia ($3.71), Arkansas ($3.74), Missouri ($3.75), Ohio ($3.75), Kansas ($3.77), Oklahoma ($3.77), Mississippi ($3.77), Texas ($3.77), South Carolina ($3.78) and Kentucky ($3.79).
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.72 to settle at $102.07. Crude prices weakened at the end of the day due to demand concerns in Shanghai as fears of a demand-reducing slowdown in global economic activity loom. Crude prices declined despite EIA reporting that total domestic oil inventories decreased by 8.1 million barrels to 413.7 million barrels. This week, crude prices could see further reductions if demand concerns continue to drag the market down.