Gas Prices Stay in the Slow Lane for Now

The national average for a gallon of gas barely budged since last week, falling two cents to $3.07.  The primary reason appears to be rather humdrum numbers for the cost of oil and gasoline demand.

“I wouldn’t bet the farm on the national average reaching $3 a gallon, even if we are tantalizingly close,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “The mid-winter blahs will likely keep pump prices waffling a few cents up and down for the immediate future. But keep an eye on frigid temps because those can affect refinery production, pushing some regional pump prices higher.”

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand increased from 7.95 to 8.33 million b/d last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks increased significantly by 8 million bbl to 245 million bbl. The slight uptick in demand has limited pump price drops, causing the national average to stagnate. However, if oil prices continue to drop, drivers could continue to see pump prices trickle lower.

Today’s national average of $3.07 is 8 cents less than a month ago and 19 cents less than a year ago.

Quick Stats

  • Since last Thursday, these 10 states have seen the largest changes in their averages: Indiana (+14 cents), Ohio (+13 cents), Arizona (−11 cents), Florida (+10 cents), California (−10 cents), Nevada (−9 cents), Colorado (−9 cents), Michigan (+8 cents), Oregon (−8 cents) and New Mexico (−8 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Oklahoma ($2.59), Arkansas ($2.62), Missouri ($2.63), Mississippi ($2.66), Wisconsin ($2.66), Kansas ($2.67), Texas ($2.67), Colorado ($2.70), Louisiana ($2.74) and Tennessee ($2.75).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Wednesday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 87 cents to settle at $71.37. Oil prices eased yesterday after the EIA reported that total domestic commercial crude stocks increased by 1.3 million bbl to 432.4 million bbl. Rising stocks signal that demand could be softening, helping to push prices down as the nation settles into winter.




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