Gasoline prices continued to surge across the country as more and more motorists face the prospect of paying $3 per gallon plus for gasoline for the first time in four years.
AAA now pegs national gas price average at 2.811 per gallon, highest price per gallon since November 2014 when pump prices averaged $3.34, peaking at $3.70 in April and bottoming out at $2.25 in December.
“Motorist have been spoiled the past few years with inexpensive gas prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “We expect prices to continue increasing, potentially another 10 cents, through Memorial Day and then will likely stabilize during the summer, with the understanding that if demand spikes, prices are likely to follow.”
On the week, gasoline demand dropped from its record high level the previous week, falling by 774,000 barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration. At 9.083 million barrels, gasoline demand is now more in line with rates typically seen during the spring driving season.
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The nation’s most expensive California at $3.61, Washington at $3.29, Alaska at $3.25, Nevada at $3.23, Oregon at $3.19, Utah at $3.09, Idaho at $3.09, Pennsylvania at $3.02 and Connecticut at $2.95.
When looking at year-on-year increases, California where prices have increased by 62 cents tops the list of all states in the country, followed by Arizona by 55 cents, Hawaii by 54 cents, Nevada by 52 cents, Oregon by 43 cents and Washington by 38 cents.
The national gas price average is 16 cents more expensive than last month and 43 cents more expensive that last year at this time.
For the fifth consecutive week, gasoline stocks in the region have fallen. At 29.6 million barrels for the week ending on April 20, inventories in the region are at their lowest point since November 2017. Although stocks are below the level they were at last year, they are still higher than the five-year average for the region.
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Comparing pump prices to those this time last year, Indiana motorists are paying 53 cents more to fill up. This is the most expensive year-over-year difference in gas prices of any state in the Midwest.
In the coming days, some states may see prices spike a little higher – including Wisconsin where the price is now $2.68 per gallon, Michigan is $2.92 per gallon and Minnesota where it is $2.61 per gallon – following fires that broke out at Husky Energy’s refinery in Superior, Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, crude oil dropped 9 cents to settle at $68.10. Following EIA’s report that revealed crude inventories moved higher by 2.2 million barrels, oil prices were mostly stable last week, but remained near the three-year highs they reached earlier this month.
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U.S. crude oil output increased to 10.586 million barrels per day. The big news in U.S. crude production this week is in exports, which surged to 2.331 million barrels per day last week – the highest weekly estimate ever on record from the EIA as American try to grab market share from other major producers, notably Russia and Saudi Arabia, which have frozen out put until the end of the year in a bid to lift the price of crude on global markets.