Pump prices rose again over the past week due primarily to the high cost of crude oil. Fear of a global energy supply disruption due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine outweighs the demand concerns prompted by the impact of COVID-19 on China’s economy. The cost of a barrel of crude continues to hover around $100. With the oil price accounting for about 60% of pump prices, the national average for a gallon of regular is now $4.19, an increase of seven cents since Monday, April 25.
“As long as the supply remains tight, it will be hard for crude oil prices to fall and consumers will in turn face higher prices at the pump,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “It now costs drivers in the U.S. about $23 more to fill up than a year ago.”
According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 1.6 million bbl to 230.8 million bbl last week. Gasoline demand decreased slightly from 8.87 million b/d to 8.74 million b/d. Although lower gas demand would typically push pump prices lower, the fluctuating oil price and tight gasoline supply have pushed pump prices higher. Pump prices will likely face upward pressure as oil prices remain above $100 per barrel.
Today’s national average for a gallon of gas is $4.19, which is a penny less than a month ago, but $1.29 more than a year ago.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Delaware (+22 cents), Maryland (+21 cents), Ohio (+19 cents), Pennsylvania (+15 cents), Washington, D.C. (+14 cents), Connecticut (+13 cents), Vermont (+13 cents), Indiana (+12 cents), New Jersey (+12 cents) and North Carolina (+12 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Georgia ($3.72), Missouri ($3.77), Kansas ($3.78), Arkansas ($3.79), Mississippi ($3.80), Oklahoma ($3.80), Kentucky ($3.82), South Carolina ($3.85), Alabama ($3.85) and Texas ($3.86).
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 67 cents to settle at $104.69. Although prices declined on the day due to crude demand concerns as lockdowns continue in China, crude prices gained earlier in the week after EIA’s weekly report showed that total current supply level is approximately 16 percent lower than at the end of April 2021. Crude inventories rose by 700,000 bbl to 414.4 million bbl, but supply remains tight and the market remains highly volatile. For this week, crude prices will likely continue to increase, pushing pump prices higher. Additionally, the market will be watching this week’s OPEC+ meeting via videoconference on Thursday, May 5, which could see the cartel increase crude production to help meet global demand.
Drivers can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app can also map a route, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.